09 April 2007

10 things about clients

5 clients I love:

1. Clients who pay me on time. Yes, I know talking about money is supposed to be impolite. But a wordsmith can't survive on fresh air alone. If my terms says 30 days, that means I expect you to pay me within 30 days. Clients who settle immediately get gold stars.

2. Clients who give me a clear brief. I'm not psychic and I don't have a crystal ball. Clients who tell me exactly what they want get the job done faster and better.

3. Clients who are interesting to chat to. I like getting to know my clients better as it gives me more insight into what makes them tick. It's one of those things that helps me do a better job.

4. Clients who give me free rein within the brief. Because it means they trust me to do a great job.

5. Clients who give me feedback. Praise is good for stroking my ego, but constructive feedback is even better.

5 clients I loathe:

1. Clients who pay late. Pretty obvious, this one. And clients who don't stump up until I start having to threaten legal measures (mercifully, this has only happened once so far) are welcome to find another chump. Because I won't be doing any more work for them.

2. Clients who are vague. If a client is unsure what they want, I'm happy to talk things over. But if I ask specific questions and don't get clear answers, it's unlikely I'll be doing much work for them again.

3. Clients who are not honest. If a client tells me they have a 50,000-word manuscript that needs editing and I price the job on that basis, sending me a MS that is twice as long (and no doubt thinking I'll do the job for the price first quoted) is only going to irritate me. It's a waste of both our time and I have to recalculate the cost, await approval and somehow squeeze extra time for the additional work into an already overflowing schedule.

4. Clients who dither about budgets. If a client commissions me for a piece of journalism, I expect them to tell me their rate per 1,000 words rather than be asked what I charge. Frankly, if I then pick a figure and the client says "I'll get back to you", that sets my alarm bells off. It's your publication and if you don't know much you can afford to pay, perhaps you should be looking for another career...

5. Clients who think I'm available 24/7, even on public holidays. Since Good Friday, I've received 3 editing jobs (all on hold), 7 emails (ditto) and 2 Skype calls. Clients who think it's ok to call in the evenings when I'm watching EastEnders are liable to head the top of my death list.

No comments: