You know what I hate?
I hate waiting.
Life involves a lot of waiting. Waiting in lines, waiting at stoplights, waiting for a package to arrive...It's just part of the process. We have to deal with it.
But when we're left hanging without an update on our wait--the wait is much more frustrating.
Ever ordered something online and didn't get a tracking number with it? You want to know where your new thing is...but there's no update to check! AHHHHHHHHH!
Freelance writing clients feel the same feels when you leave 'em hanging. That's why you have you remember to be a better business person while you juggle your different tasks.
What does it mean to be a better businessperson?
Here’s the thing: Any writer can turn in decent work on time.
That’s what’s expected of a writer for hire, right? Right.
But a good businessperson keeps the client updated along the way with progress updates (if it’s a sizable project.)
They go above and beyond to keep them in the loop all along the way. They strive to create a partnership, rather than a one-sided indebted relationship.
Think of it like this: Have you ever hired someone for a project, but had to check in with them to see how things were going…because you hadn’t heard a word from them since you paid your deposit three weeks ago?
That’s annoying—and it makes you feel forgotten by the person you paid.
Here’s what I do to try and create a better business relationship with all of my writing clients. Feel free to steal it and put it to work for yourself.
Keeping Writing Clients In the Know
Especially when you’re working with a brand new client, you want them to understand your processes and timelines.
For me, this is why I always send out an initial email that outlines my workflow. It’s super simple—just a breakdown of how I work.
This helps the client understand what they can expect from me and when, how the editing process will work, and establishes deadlines and due dates for both of us (to keep our timetable consistent and the project on track.)
Once I start working, I check in once a week with a brief rundown on where I’m at with the project and an update on when they can expect the next piece from me. This keeps them from guessing, “Where are we at with _______?” or, “Have you heard anything from Kaleigh about our _______?”
The Final Review
When the project is done, I always ask for a thorough review not only of the work itself—but of the project management as well. I ask how I can improve in the future as well as what they liked about the tactics I’m currently using. (I also ask for a testimonial, because DUH.)
These reviews help me fine-tune this process over time, but I’ve found that checking in during the project (not just after!) consistently gets extremely positive feedback from writing clients.
Checking in and giving updates all along the way might seem like a really simple, common sense piece of the puzzle to tie in to your process, but when you get busy--it's one of the first things to go. If you needed a friendly reminder, here it is.
What’s the bottom line in all of this? Writers—when you’re working remotely with clients you’ve maybe never met before, let them know you’re here for them—even if it’s from miles away. As humans, we still need to feel that connection, I think. We want to feel cared for. It’s important.
This article originally appeared in my newsletter, A Cup of Copy. Sign up and get these free tips sent right to your inbox every other Wednesday.