Perhaps one of the most important things to consider when taking up a new job is what the client actually wants. This sounds obvious, but there are several things to consider when applying for a job and discussing with the client what the job specifically entails.
Applying for the Post
You should only apply for jobs you are certain that you fit. Being a freelance writer you are likely to be drawn immediately to writing roles, or perhaps proofreading. If you have a flexible writing style, it is okay to apply to several different types of writing jobs, such as blog posts, news articles or product descriptions.
This said, it is important to make sure you are an appropriate fit regarding the content. Writing about something you know about and care about is one hundred times easier, after all. Some posts may require a little research, and that is not a problem. However, if you are being hired to write about business or use plenty of legal jargon, you must ensure that this is a field you have some experience in. Otherwise, you may struggle to write the content even despite research, and this will only cause trouble with the client.
Communication is Key
After you have applied for the post and received confirmation from the client that they wish to discuss your hire further, it is vital to establish a line of communication with the client. This may be via the messaging service of a freelancing website, via e-mail, or via a voice tool such as Skype. Different people prefer to communicate in different ways, and the client may prefer to dictate where you communicate in order to facilitate business and transaction. If you ask me, even when you chat with your client by Skype, it is a good idea ask they to write you an email with the instructions, so you have a place to look at when you have doubts about such instructions.
Before you even consider starting your work, you must discuss the job thoroughly with the client to understand fully what they want out of the job. Otherwise, it is easy to make mistakes which cause a lot of back-and-forth between yourself and the client, only creating more unnecessary work. Do not hesitate to ask questions! It is absolutely key to make sure you know how and what to write before you start.
Throughout the process, it is okay to continue to ask the client about something if it springs to mind. You are not pestering them; in fact, it is likely that they will prefer someone who is dedicated and keen to complete the job to the best of their abilities.
It is better to check as you go along instead of wasting time sending off various draft copies to be marked and edited and sent back for corrections. This is why establishing a good line of communication early on is so important.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, there will still be things that the client wants to be changed. Do not take this to heart, it isn’t personal. The client is hiring you, after all. If you have followed all these other steps and done your best to satisfy the client completely before sending off your work, it will likely only be minor changes that can be finished very quickly.
This amounts to minimal time wasted and a high level of satisfaction with the client, probably earning you a good future reference when you require it.
Fulfilling a client’s needs is far from impossible. It’s simply all about communication, creating a better way to understand exactly what is being asked of you. I hope you heed this advice and that it serves you well in your freelance career. This is not to say that every future job will come up roses – some things just aren’t meant to be!