What Yanny and Laurel teach us about client communications

client communicationsI reckon we’re about 10 minutes into the 15-minute fame run of the Yanny vs. Laurel dust-up. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can give it a whirl here.) I was firmly in the Yanny camp until late in the day yesterday, when I watched a video that explained the effect—after which I only heard “Laurel,” and couldn’t switch back. Weird how the brain works! In any case, I think the Yanny vs. Laurel divide offers a nifty jumping-off point to discuss client communications and the importance of perception in business.
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In praise of saying yes to freelance jobs

saying yes to freelance jobsA Google search of “saying no to freelance jobs” currently coughs up 9.2 million hits, while “saying yes to freelance jobs” clocks in at half that—and a quick look shows that most of the latter results are really about saying no. I don’t disagree that it’s important to turn down work that waves a red flag in your face. At the same time, that’s not the philosophy I take into the business arena. As Tom Robbins noted in Still Life with Woodpecker, “There are only two mantras…yum and yuk. Mine is yum.”
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Value-based pricing: How can it boost your freelance business?

value-based pricingValuing your services on the basis of your skills, knowledge, and experience—as opposed to hourly rates for a task—gives your freelance business a lot more income potential than blindly following rate sheets. It’s not a calculation you can make in isolation, however. A value-based pricing approach requires looking at the situation from the client’s perspective: What can they expect from their investment if they hire you? [Read more…]

When heavy editing weighs you down

heavy editingDr. Freelance: I recently acquired a new client who hired me to edit her blog posts, which she writes herself. Let’s just say she’s not the world’s greatest writer, and I did some heavy editing to the first few posts. It was obvious her feelings were hurt, and she chose to return a lot of the copy to the original (including the lead, which was terrible). I saw your post “There’s no crying in freelance editing” and was hoping you could provide some thoughts on how to address my situation. I really want to help her make her blog posts better, but I’m going to lose her as a client if we can’t agree on what “better” is or how we get there.—Better You Bet [Read more…]

File naming conventions when you have tons of revisions

file naming
In a world where everything is final, nothing is final. Tweet this image.

Doc, do you have a method for file naming that makes it easier to track document revisions? Every time someone tells me s/he has a great system, it turns out to be including the date in the file name or creating a new folder, which doesn’t help with multiple versions per day. On occasion, I will go back-and-forth with a client and create a half-dozen iterations in a day and need to keep components from each. Any suggestions?—Gilberte [Read more…]

Size doesn’t matter (when it comes to rates)

size doesnt matterDr. Freelance: I’ve been freelance writing for several large, successful companies. I have established rates with them that are manageable for their budgets, but definitely high on the pay scale. Now I’ve been contacted by a mid-sized company in the same industry; they’ve very interested and asked for my rates. My question is: What pay/rate scale do you find is most palatable for mid-sized companies? They would be looking for me to create information manuals, website content, and other consumer-facing collateral.—Dot

Dot, I’d never assume that the pay is lower just because a company is smaller! If it’s a successful organization, size doesn’t matter: They understand the fact that high-quality, professional writing (and the level of service you deliver) is about value, and doesn’t come cheap if they want to compete with their larger peers. [Read more…]