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Are you thinking about accepting a new client for your freelance writing business? It’s such an exciting feeling to know that someone wants to hire you to create content.
But, not every client is a good client. That’s why it’s so important for you to ask questions before you sign a contract. Take the time to learn the expectations and ensure you and this potential client are on the same page.
To help, here are seven essential questions to ask before you decide to work together.
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1. Who Is Your Target Audience?
If you don’t know who your client is trying to reach, you will have a hard time creating content that converts.
You need to know who your client’s target audience is. The more you understand about their readers, the better content you’ll be able to create.
This is the perfect time to find out more about your client’s business! You may even find some potential upsells to offer to help address pain points you learn about.
2. What Are Your Expectations?
Whether you’ll be writing an article a week, uploading posts directly into WordPress, or whatever else your contract entails, you need to make sure you and your client are on the same page.
Does your client need a picture with that article? Or a couple of headlines for testing? Are you responding to emails as your client, or in your own voice?
If you don’t ask, you won’t know. And, scope creep is much more likely to happen. Be clear, spell out the details in writing, and make sure you deliver great work if you move forward with this client.
3. What Is Your Pay Structure?
If you’re taking time away from your kids to work on your business, you’re hopefully getting paid! Find out how the pay is structured.
Here are clarifying questions if needed:
- Where should I send my invoice?
- What method of payment do you prefer?
- What’s your budget?
- How many hours per week are you expecting these tasks to take?
Remember that as a freelance writer, you own your own business. No one is going to hand you money on a regular basis. You must ask for it with an invoice.
I personally use Wave, and have for a couple of years. I love that it’s free and I can customize my invoices.
Once you onboard, add INVOICE CLIENTS to your reoccurring to-do list. Otherwise you won’t get money.
4. What Does Success Look Like For You?
Each client has a different measurement for gauging success. If you know what you’re being measured against, it’ll help ensure you are focusing on the correct area for that particular client.
Here are some common forms of success measurement:
- Subscribers to a newsletter
- Social media shares
- Number of followers on social media channels
- Products sold
- ROI increase
- Quality of post
Of course there are others! Find out which ones are most important to your client. Then work hard, especially in those areas. Help your client to look good.
5. How Do You Prefer to Communicate?
Some clients prefer email. Others want to Skype. Some text or instant message. And some want to talk on the phone.
With so many methods of communication available now, it’s important to ask how your client prefers to be reached.
It’s also the perfect way to talk about your work hours and how you prefer to communicate. You know, so you can make sure you didn’t find a client who will consume your life!
Be clear from the start what your “hours” are. If you don’t tell them, your clients aren’t going to read your mind.
6. Do You Have a Style Guide?
You want your writing to match the style and tone your client is looking for. To accomplish this task, ask if they have a style guide. This will help you refine your writing for that particular client. It’ll answer these questions:
- How to submit your post
- Which heading sizes to use
- What point of view to write in
- Any expectations for links
- Image guidelines
The more you know about what is expected, the better work you can turn in. You want to submit content that works for your client to reduce the number of revisions you need to do.
While asking about the style guide, make sure you ask about submission. Do they prefer a Google doc or a Word document. You want to submit the right type of file.
7. What Are Your Deadlines?
You need to know when your client expects delivery of the finished product. Do you have a recurring deadline each week? Or every month? Or do you just turn in work as requested?
Ask, and then if you land the gig, put it on your calendar so you remember! You don’t want to miss a deadline!
What Essential Questions Did I Miss?
What essential questions do you ask before bringing on a new client? If I missed any, I’d love you to chime in below.
Taking time to ask questions will help get you and your client off to a solid start. You’ll also be able to check for any red flags, and help prevent scams.