8 Questions to Ask a Potential Freelancing Client

client-meeting

When you first meet a potential client, it is preferable to have some idea of the company background prior to the meeting. This can be as simple as reading through their ‘about’ page on their website and familiarizing yourself with the key staff members. Make sure you know about the person you will be meeting.

If the project was by word of mouth ask the person, who referred you something about the company and their interactions with them.

Once you are in the meeting, stay relaxed and mention something you found interesting on their website – this will show you are prepared and have investigated the company prior to the meeting. This is a rather easier introduction than asking a ream of questions at the start of the meeting that takes up time, when it is the project they are more interested in discussing.

Keep your questions project specific – the more information you gather now the better it will be in enabling you to make an informed proposal. Try not to bombard the client with too many questions all at once. However, questions should include:

How do they envision the ‘finished’ project? If you have completed a similar project mention it to show your understanding and expertise. If you have concerns or questions state them now. 

Are there specific project instructions? Ensure you completely understand what they are asking for. If you can see any obstacles then advise them but offer solutions. This may not be possible there and then but note them to investigate later ans report back as soon as you can.

Who is the target audience? Is the project for internal or external use? Is it aimed at a specific demographic? What is the purpose of the project?

What is the tone of the writing they require? Conversational, business formal or brand specific?

How often do they require meetings and/or email communications? Keeping in touch with a client ensures they are not only updated but it also shows you are working towards the deadline. If at any time you need more time tell your client immediately – they will be more understanding than if you ‘hide’.

What is the deadline for the project? Before committing to the deadline research the entire project and ‘add’ time for problems, revisions etc. This ensures you have enough time to complete the project without putting unnecessary demands on yourself. If you finish earlier than expected that will be a bonus.

Will payment be in installments or a lump sum? Asking what method of payments are offered is not a taboo subject. Don’t be shy to state what payment schedule you prefer but be flexible.

Is there potential for future projects? Maybe you feel it is too early to ask this question but it will show your keenness to work with the company.

What specific questions do you feel need to be asked at the first meeting?

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Unusual Freelance Projects

Freelance blocks

Again I have been remiss in writing on this blog (my author blog posts are three times a week!) However, with a hectic schedule it is difficult to fit ‘everything’ in. That said I have been given a couple of unusual freelance projects in the past month or so.

One is to make a speech on a tour of cemeteries. Sounds bizarre doesn’t it? The tour is run by a local funeral company specializing in ‘alternative’ funerals and services. My part is to relate my experience of graveyards. What could I possibly say you ask? Well as a young teen I frequented an old graveyard not far from my childhood home as a place to escape my younger siblings and struggle with the hormone induced mood swings.

I cleaned the old grave markers revealing the names and dates and I felt I was honoring that person, who life was not just the ‘dash’ between dates. When on vacation in Wales I also found an ancient graveyard and again cleaned and honored those people. It became an annual ritual each time we stayed at Chapel Cottage.

This speech will be, in part, a way of looking at cemeteries in a different light. A place to reflect, honor and resolve.

graveyard

The other project was to read and review a fantasy novel. The narrative was crowded with characters and action, which certainly kept me on my reading toes for sure. Supporting other authors is one of my favorite pastimes.

book-review

Once again I am open to new projects so please feel free to contact me. I am happy to discuss all types of writing projects and tailor the price to the project.

 

The Land of Freelance Limbo

Apart from feeling awful that I have completely ignored this blog for such a  long time, I am experiencing a new phenomenon in my freelancing career.

Life has been hectic to say the least since last September. As President of my local Arts & Culture Council, I became the central hub for communication and organizing between my board and that of another non-profit. This meant hundreds of emails to answer and collate, creating and constantly updating a schedule – containing vendors, performers, volunteers, local organizations and even transport for a large event in my town. The event was incredibly successful and worth the months of stress. It became my main focus although I did have a lot of other events to attend during that period.Including a writing conference, where I did a couple of presentations and again assisted in the organizing.

http://accsc.ca/page-1823614 Our Heritage Day will now be an annual event – good grief!

I am now onto planning another event for my writers group, the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County – Words in the Park, as I am secretary. Yes I know I’m completely mad! But as the saying goes ‘ask a busy person’ and I’m certainly that!

Web site banner WitP 2017_0

I was hired to ghost write a book during this time too and managed to compile and update several drafts for my client. The page count target is 150 and we have 97 so far. However, my client has taken on a major task, which has meant putting this project on hold. Firstly, I totally understand this client’s decision – I know how having too many ‘fingers in the fire’ can burn you out! And secondly, it gives me some breathing room. With partial payment already made for the project I am confident we will complete the project in the near future.

In the meantime I’m open to new projects as my schedule has become unexpectedly open – feel free to contact me. I am open to a diverse number of projects, including social media blasts, article writing, creating new bio’s, instruction manuals, blog content etc. etc. See my testimonial page for an idea of my freelancing scope.

What do you do when you have a lull in freelance work?

I found this article to be quite interesting.

http://freelancefolder.com/7-ways-to-promote-yourself-when-you-have-to-put-your-freelancing-on-hold/

Organizing Life and Freelancing Demands without being Overwhelmed

With multiple demands on my time I have to maintain some kind of schedule for my freelance writing as well as the many other demands of ‘life’. Freelance projects are somewhat easier to schedule as they come with definite deadlines but other projects can disturb this regimented order.

Take for example my organization of a large event taking place this June. It will not only celebrate Canada’s 150th but also be a showcase for all the local artisans, cultural groups and organizations and associations that are within Strathcona County. With the Arts & Culture Council and the Diversity Committee boards involved there had to be a ‘central hub’ for information – yep you guessed it – me! (I am the President of the Arts & Culture Council so I suppose it should be me). It took me seven hours to produce a master list of performers, contacts, reservations, transport, displays, and more. Now it is a lot easier to update with a detailed layout.

Heritage w shuttle

I was invited to present at a writers conference, which happened last Saturday. http://wfscsherwoodpark.com/node/3090   The theme was all things Canadian so I presented an interactive workshop on Building a Canadian Character. The session included each attendee choosing a particular province and building a character from its particular landscape, economy, resources etc. With numerous handouts I managed to compile, each attendee went home with helpful resources.

When I created the individual folders I pinned a small cloth doll to each and then asked everyone to choose – this meant they went for colour or pattern unaware I had put a photo inside for another exercise. Sneaky maybe but it worked well. Then later I asked everyone to describe with as much detail as possible the person in those photos. After they read their description they shown the photo to everyone else. It was a lesson in description. 

Conference 2017 logo

Both of these activities require concentration and commitment just like freelance writing. You commit to a project and see it through.

How do you deal with scheduling multiple demands on your time?

This link shows several freelancers schedules.

https://www.sitepoint.com/freelancer-schedules/

Freelance Projects Can be Diverse But That’s The Joy Of Them

Today saw the completion of several projects I have been working on and progress on another. It is always satisfying to finish assignments, knowing your client is happy with the end product.

manuscript

I edited and beta-read two vastly different manuscripts – one a thriller and the other personal essays/memoir. In order for me to remain ‘in touch’ with each manuscript I read them in different locations and time of day. This ensured my mind set was right for the theme I was reading. I find it is not a good idea to ‘mix’ these type of assignments – the brain needs to be clear of other demands to make clear assessments.

The other project – ghostwriting a book – is much more complex as I am working with a client whose vision for the book is clear and precise. They know what voice and tone they want for the book as well as the addition of a host of images.

With multiple clients it is essential to schedule each one giving thought to the time it will take for each one (plus a little more time for a safety margin- this is vital). You can use a reverse calendar for organizing or a large wall calendar to plot each one in different coloured pen or highlighter.

I utilize a reverse calendar and colour code to give me a visual reminder.

I found these links which give good advice & some tips on scheduling processes.

http://www.talentedladiesclub.com/articles/the-art-of-juggling-how-to-manage-multiple-freelance-clients/

https://thefreelancecollective.com.au/my-top-5-tips-for-juggling-several-freelance-projects-at-once/

What method(s) do you use?

juggling

The variety in my freelance work is what makes it enjoyable and worthwhile. I have ‘learnt’ about such diverse subjects as accounting, yoga, massage therapy, furniture, non-profits, boarding kennels and more!

What do you feel freelancing gives you?