Guest Post - Our host is Kingsley Agu, in this post Kingsley has some tips for freelance bloggers.See How To Become a guest author on Spice Up Your Blog.
Do you still remember that moment when you check your email or facebook inbox, and you come across a mind boggling email or message, specifically from a soon-to-be prospective client? Yeah, I know how happy you’d be then - especially if this particular message is your first from any client online.
I think I can relate very well with the short remembrance above; since I can still vividly remember how my first ghost writing client contacted me from facebook; asking me to write for him.
This story goes on and on. But it’s not the story I want to tell you about - it’s about the mistakes and glitches which I did as a newbie who just met his very first client.
I also think you can learn from this story as well; because it practically address problems which newbie freelance bloggers encounter, and how they can possibly avoid such problems.
These were the mistakes or should I say - deadly sins which I committed with my very first client-
1. Not Pricing My WorthOne bad mistake freelance bloggers do at the start of their career is that they hardly know how much they are worth. This always results in some clients undervaluing you with their incessant price per article which you clearly think are outrageously small.
I was clearly a victim in this category. I didn’t know how much I was worth until I cross-checked my articles especially this [one]. This gave me the courage to confront my client with a surprising news that I can’t write for that amount again. He was initially surprised; he started to instil fear into my mind by letting me know what I’d miss if he goes away. But I was confident that with what I churn out as blog post; getting another client greater than him won’t take long to materialize.
Having done that - I quickly inserted a price tag of $70 per article in my Hire Me page so that I can chase out clients with lower budget like him. This has always worked for me since I applied it to my blog.
You may ask: How Can I Know How Much My Articles Are Worth?
It’s quite simple; do these 3 things and you’ll know instantly-
- Reassess your recent posts on your blog and score yourself according to their worth.
- Ask someone else (probably your mentor) to read your recent posts and score you according to how good they’re.
- You can also ask your previous clients to tell you how good the articles you wrote for them are.
2. I Was Always Missing Client’s DeadlineThis is probably the most annoying aspect I had to contend with; since it was so hard for me then to write up 2 posts per day for my client. And actually, this inability wasn’t because I couldn’t possibly churn out more than two posts per day. It was because of the unnecessary distractions I acquainted myself with during those times. I still remember how I would be writing my client’s article amid watching TV and Facebooking at same time. All these redundant distractions made me miss my client’s deadline on end.
How did I later learn to stop missing clients’ deadline?
This is what I did-
I Stayed Focused-
This meant turning off anything that will distract me from writing. Ranging from TV, internet etc. I just made sure that I shut myself off from the world around me. This really helped me keep up with the numerous clients’ load I started later getting after finishing with my first client.
I Remembered My Online Reputation-
Yes, I seriously did. The worst thing that can happen to any freelance writer is to have a displeased client bashing about online that you’re a scam. Believe me; you certainly don’t want that happening to you; because it might foil your chances of getting clients in the future.
So to be in my later clients’ good book, I had to be up and doing regarding the job at hand.
I Kept a To-Do List-
This is quite important; since it’s good to follow time and be punctual regarding anything in life. I simply allotted how and when I’ll start and finish writing. This made me focus more on the time given to me by myself – which I religiously followed to the core.
I usually use the pomodoro app to make sure I’m being time conscious when I’m writing; this always helps me finish on time.
And to crown my own efforts – it began working like magic! I started submitting my client’s articles on time and I’ve never looked back since that day.
4. I Didn’t Collect 50% Payment UpfrontThis is the most important part for me in this write up. I didn’t tell you that my first client refused to pay me my fee complete? Did I?
Well, he sure didn’t pay me fully for services rendered by then. This usually happens to newbie freelancers who don’t ask client for upfront payment because they don’t want to displease or lose the client.
I also was among those that did this then; but I stopped it immediately this incident with my client happened. I normally collect 50% in some cases - this depends largely on the type of client I’m dealing with.
If you want to collect 50% up front- then you should ask yourself whether you can possibly deliver the articles the client want at the time he or she is in need of it. A client can easily lose trust in a freelancer if he has paid the freelancer and yet the freelancer can’t even deliver on time.
I collect 50% because I can and I know that I can possibly churn out articles on time before the client is in need of it. Yours can be a 30/70 payment method (like I said - it depends on whether you can deliver on time.)
Just don’t work for a client without a percentage of the payment on your palm.
4. Not Proofreading My Clients’ ArticlesLike I always say – Nothing in this world can take the place of proofreading, because without it, there will be no compelling article written.
I always thought of proofreading to be a thing to be taken sparingly by writers; because I had this core misconception that what I was writing then had no typos attached to it. I even bragged about my writing to clients. This stopped abruptly when my first client told me that my writing is always accompanied with typos. I was shocked to hear that; but I later read some of the articles that I wrote for him. I read them word for word, only to discover silly mistakes written by my own very hands; which, by mere reading it out seemed so funny to the ear.
This taught me a tangible lesson that I’ve never forgotten. It taught me to always remember that client pay me to write up excellent article which are typo free. So, since that incident - I’ve been more cautious about how I submit articles to my clients. If those articles haven’t been edited and proofread diligently, then, it probably won’t be sent to the client in question.
Do you know how to make proofreading a joyous thing to do as a freelancer?
Following this steps will help-
Read Your Write up Aloud
You don’t necessarily need to shout the house down all in the name of trying to proofread your articles; that’s not what I really mean. What I mean is quite simple - read your write ups to your hearing. This will help you erase or edit words that are incomplete and it also helps you know whether your writing is actually flowing, whether your readers can really comprehend what you’re trying to explain to your readers. When your writing isn’t flowing - there will surely be a disconnection between you and your readers.
So strive to read your write ups aloud from today; this will really help you catch errors that are normally hard to see.
Write Now. . .Proofread Later
As we all know, writing is a tough brain exercise. It requires a high amount of concentration from the brain. Having said this, recent research shows that after writing, your brain is more likely to miss obvious errors if you decide to proofread your just concluded article immediately.
So always try not to proofread your articles for typos immediately after writing. Instead, leave it for a while to cool your brain before you go back to proofreading it again. This will help you catch more errors that you could have caught had it been you started proofreading and editing the write up immediately.
5. I Was Always Writing Inferior ArticleThis was largely due to the fact that I didn’t know that client satisfaction was the integral component that makes up a successful freelance blogger. Since clients don’t employ you to write just any low article; they’re counting on you to write up something that will be profitable to them.
I never knew this back then, I’d just write up a post - no matter how low in quality it was, I’d still post it to the client, notwithstanding what the client will say when he reads it. This kept happening until I started seeing other freelance bloggers who were always recommended by former client to new client. I didn’t have any client recommendation - So I asked some of them what their secret was, and they told me that they put in their all in every article they write for their client.
That was how I started writing quality articles at all time for my clients. This compelled them to tell other prospective client that I was the best for the job if they need a freelance writer.
I admonish you to always write up posts that are full of intrinsic values, and I can assure you that you’re clients will definitely outsource you to more clients without you lifting a finger.
Now, having come to the end of this guest post, I’d like to ask you an important question. Let’s get personal a little bit. What really was your greatest mistake with your first client that you seriously regret doing or not doing?
Let me know down at the comment section. Don’t forget to share this awesome post!