Vague writing feedback revisited

writing feedbackLast week, I wrote about the challenges of managing vague creative feedback, and provided a couple of thoughts on how to bring such situations to resolution. The good news? That post was based on writing feedback on a real-life freelance project, and the next step went smoothly. Woohoo!

How did I move the client from uncertainty to approval? Pretty simple, really. But you need a little more backstory than I provided last time. [Read more…]

The worst kind of creative feedback and what you can do about it

creative feedbackYou’re not going to last long in the creative world if you can’t give and accept criticism gracefully—or at least without sparking conflict. That’s not guaranteed, however, when you’re working with clients outside our field. It can be a struggle for them to convey creative feedback about projects in an actionable fashion, simply because it’s a skill they’ve rarely or never had to use. That results in profoundly unhelpful comments such as “Just let your creative juices flow,” “It’s missing something, but I’m not sure what,” “You’re the (writer/editor/designer),” and the worst offender of all, “I’ll know it when I see it.” [Read more…]

Thoughts on the Mode Media bankruptcy

mode media bankruptcyIt’s a strange feeling to have a blog post go viral and wish it hadn’t. That was my experience on Friday, when I checked Google Analytics and saw a huge surge in traffic to my post about what to do when a freelance client files for bankruptcy. I subsequently went to Twitter, and found the cause: the Mode Media bankruptcy announcement on September 15. [Note: I am using “bankruptcy” loosely not legally here, as in “they’ve shut down and aren’t paying their creditors.” The company hasn’t yet filed for legal protection, but that would seem a likely path forward according to this article.] [Read more…]

Is your freelance client serious? Here’s the test

serious freelance clientDr. Freelance: I have a prospective freelance client — an author who needs his book edited — and he appears to have the money and desire to hire me. He keeps pressing me for a price estimate, but I haven’t seen the manuscript, just one sample chapter that I edited. I’m concerned about extrapolating, because it’s a long book and I’m not sure of the overall quality. What’s my next step?—Hurry Up and Wait [Read more…]

The 1 simple question you must ask every new freelance client

new freelance client questionAfter all these years, I like to believe I’m pretty skilled at avoiding red-flag clients.

Alas, I’m writing today to confess an unforced error, because I recently neglected to ask the 1 simple question you must ask every new freelance client:

What’s your past experience working with freelancers? [Read more…]

What’s the biggest new-client red flag?

Dr. Freelance: I’m wondering what you think the single biggest new-client red flag is when you’re meeting with a prospective client?—Just Curious

Just Curious: If you work long enough in this business, you’ll find that there’s a whole United Nations’ worth of ’em. A new-client red flag could be foot-dragging on returning calls or emails, pushing off meeting times, not sending materials for your review before asking for an estimate, prying endlessly for information and ideas without agreeing to anything concrete, poor experiences with prior freelancers… [Read more…]