As a freelance writer and small business owner, one consideration I make sure to always keep at the forefront when signing on with any new client is whether the account or type of work offers any growth potential. With so much content and continuously changing designs and marketing approaches, it’s incredibly important to select clients that allow you to expand your knowledge and apply it to the work that you do. But how exactly do you measure growth potential and how can you determine if a client’s expectations fall within that realm? Below are four factors to consider before signing your next independent contractor agreement:
1. Am I passionate about the brand/organization?
While not every freelance writer has a specific niche clientele right off the bat, it’s important to have some degree of enthusiasm when it comes to the industry in which you’ll be writing for. If you’re planning on spending hour after hour immersed in a subject, it’s best to select a field that appeals to your interests or skill set, or at the very least be something you’re willing to research extensively.
2. Is there a capacity for referrals from this client?
This factor is mighty important. As a writer, it’s your responsibility to represent the brand of your client and represent it well. Your objective should be to deliver top-notch work that may lead to referrals to other like-minded leaders in the industry. On the other hand, putting out content of sub-par quality will quickly earn you a reputation that is highly unlikely to fare well with other interested organizations. If you can’t guarantee your client high-quality work or at least your best efforts, save yourself the frustration and ego slams and pass the opportunity to a writer of a better fit.
3. Am I comfortable with this client’s expectations and communication style?
This is where things can get hairy quickly. A client that talks poorly about his or her customers or employees is likely to prove to be a challenge. I have had multiple experiences with clients who demand my time when it is convenient for them, but cannot offer me the same when clarification is needed on my part. It can be difficult to detect a demanding client from the start but be cautious when considering the reality of a client’s timelines and overall expectations. If you’re wary about deadlines or availability before you’ve even begun, you may want to refrain from diving in until issues have been discussed.
4. Is this client interested in helping ME thrive?
From your initial contact with a prospective client, it should be apparent what the client’s game plan is for ongoing work and the future of the client-contractor relationship. If when discussing rates, the client seems apprehensive of your asking price, or makes mention of a maximum budget or set number of billable hours, you may want to consider stepping back from the offer. For freelance writers just getting started, it can be exciting to have any client show interest in your work, but a client who discounts your time, capabilities, or contributions is likely to be notoriously dissatisfied with the results received. Furthermore, you will burn out wasting hour upon hour producing work that won’t strengthen your skill set and will lead to stress and self-depreciation.
No matter your experience in the freelance world, remember your time is as valuable as anyone’s. Never settle for less than what you’re worth. The right clients will appreciate your time and commitment to your craft and will lead to referrals and ongoing work.