Defining What Your Freelance Client Actually Wants…

Defining what your client actually wants is the mainstay of any freelancer’s business. 

  1. With your first contact with your client, it is best to listen well. Do not try to interpret what they want – just listen. Paraphrase what they tell you and ask open ended questions.
  2. Once you have written down key points, ask pertinent questions, such as:
    1. Length of article.
    2. Style.
    3. Medium – social media, magazine, website etc.   
  3. Is the project a one off or a series?
  4. What method of contact works best for them?
  5. Do they have a preferred ‘voice’ for the project? Ask for a description of their brand.
  6. Do they have examples?
  7. What is their deadline?
  8. What must be included in the piece?
  9. How many rounds of editing are included in the project.
  10. What technical specifications are there?
  11. Payment due date(s).
  12. How do they want the project submitted?

As you can see from the graphic, it is easy to misinterpret a client’s needs so the more questions you ask the better. Never assume you know what they want – always ask questions.


Prior to the first meeting research the client/business so you are familiar with them:

  1. Know their business – how long the company has been in business, their main products and services, their decision makers and their competitors. For individual clients search their social media and website.
  2. Bring new ideas along with your proposal.
  3. Mirror their style.
  4. Write up a project description.
  5. Decide on your pricing within set parameters. This can be revised once the full details of the project are known.

Once the project details are finalized make sure to write out a contract detailing everything that was agreed upon. Send it for approval and once that is received back send your  final contract and payment agreement.

Always keep open contact with your client so if there are difficulties in maintaining the deadline or other problems, they are aware.