As a freelancer and business owner, I’ll be the first to admit that landing new clients is exciting! But, I’m always conscious not to get so wrapped up in the thrill of it all that I totally neglect the logistics.
Yes, a lot of that administrative stuff is a total bore. But, it’s also the stuff that can come back to bite you in the end—so it’s important that you pay attention to it.
Now that I’ve been freelancing for about a year and a half, I’ve begun to refine my process for new clients. And, there’s a few questions that I make sure to ask every prospective client—if they haven’t already answered them on their own.
Posing these questions helps me ensure that I’ve covered all of my bases, and that there won’t be any nasty surprises down the line! Curious what I typically make sure to ask? Well, you’re in luck!
Let’s be honest—you don’t want to work for free. And, while I’ve moved on from the days of having to ask clients how much they pay (now, I just tell them my rates), I still need to know when and how they pay their contractors.
Some pay every two weeks, some pay once a month, and others pay upon project completion. Some mail checks, some do direct deposit, and others like to use Paypal. I’m always flexible about the actual methods—but proactively talking all of this over eliminates those lingering questions and ensures that your’e both on the same page when it comes to compensation.
Word to the wise, make sure that you have this in writing. It’ll help you should things fall apart down the road.
Admittedly, I’m not always the best at following my own advice. But, I highly recommend that you have a signed contract in place for every client you work for. Again, it’s just one of those things that will protect you should anything bad ever happen.
Most of my clients (particularly the larger businesses) have contracts of their own that I review, ask questions about, and then sign. But, if they didn’t, I would definitely take the time to put together my own contract. No matter how brief it is, having something in writing never hurts.
Oftentimes when I’m speaking with new clients, I end up conversing with three or four different people from the team. And, while I love interacting and collaborating with new people, I don’t want to end up with a “too many cooks in the kitchen” type of problem.
So, I always make sure to ask who I should treat as my main point of contact for projects to avoid any confusion, miscommunications, or stepped-on toes.
Projects between my clients vary greatly—even if they are all mainly blog posts. So, when talking with a prospective client, I always ask that they describe what a standard project looks like for them.
Starting this conversation elaborates on their process for topic selection (am I pitching topics or do they assign them?) as well as their anticipated word count for each piece. It’s all important information for me to know before I can actually get started!
I’m lucky that most of the work I do as a freelancer is pretty regular. I do two posts a week for this client, one post for that client, and so on. I’m finding that a lot of brands and businesses prefer to work on this predictable schedule.
Needless to say, I like to ask about the time commitment they need. If they’re looking for someone to author five posts per week, I likely don’t have space in my schedule to make that work. But, if they’re only looking for a piece per month, we can continue figuring out the other specifics.
Hey, I don’t think it’s fair that I do all of the talking. And, I can only expect that someone hiring me might have a few things they want answered.
Bringing in a new client can be simultaneously exciting and overwhelming, and it definitely takes some time to refine how your process works. But, I always make sure to include these questions with my initial conversations, just to make sure I’ve crossed my T’s and dotted my I’s.
Until next time!