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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Freelance networking introductions done right

freelance networking introductionsI’ve got a longtime client—more important, a mentor and friend—who does the most amazing, thoughtful networking introductions. You can’t help but feel like a rock star, whether she’s introducing you in person or via email. Not surprisingly, she’s also one of those people who seems to know everyone in town, in any industry you can name.

As freelancers, we can’t exist in a vacuum, because success goes beyond raw creative talent. The market needs to view you as a person who’s connected to other people who can help them accomplish their goals—even if you’re not directly involved in a given project. (See also: complementary freelance creatives.) That takes effort and it can’t happen if you only network with people in your own specialty. It’s an investment in your business. [Read more…]

Do your clients really want you to succeed as a freelancer?

succeed as a freelancerWhat does your ideal freelance client look like? Great (and fast) payer…high-profile (and rewarding) projects…lots of positive feedback…sends plenty of referrals…prompt, responsive, and easy to work with? I agree. Over the course of 18 years of running my own business, though, I’ve found it comes down to this: Do your clients want you to succeed as a freelancer? And do you want them to succeed, too?

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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…]

Friday freelance link roundup

freelance link roundupDeadlines and a pile of long-term projects absorbed my energies this week, but there’s always time for a Friday freelance link roundup, eh? Truth be told, not all of these are about freelancing directly—as I always recommend, you should have an eye out for related concepts that can be applied to your business. If you’re a freelance writer and only read freelance writing blogs, or a freelance graphic designer who only reads (you know where I’m going here) blogs about design, you’re missing out! [Read more…]