By Daniel Ottalini
Hi all, this is a companion piece to my earlier article on how to make sure that your freelancers/self-publishing helpers do their best for you. But what about the flip side? What can you, as a freelance/small business editor, cover artist, etc., do to make sure that you give your customers what they want, keep them coming back, but also make money and keep your dignity in the process?
- Place your requirements/expectations on your website – and explain them to the client before any money or work exchanges hands. They should be reasonable, but also protect both of you. How many times can a client request a fix to a finished product, how often will communication happen, when is money due, etc. Depending on the size of the work, a contract with signatures may even be warranted. Much better to hash it out in advance and smooth over any small bumps than to have wasted time and effort putting out an incorrect or unwanted product.
- Figure out what they want before you do any work – My cover artist sends me a huge questionnaire before they begin any work. Often your clients will have ideas, but not always a fully fleshed out idea – this is especially true for cover art and illustrations. For editing, ask your client’s style, (if you hadn’t already figured it out during a sample trial) – and ask how much fixing they are expecting of you? Content, grammatical, or both? I’ve worked with some editors to barely tweak the story design, focusing on grammar, punctuation, etc. I’ve also worked with other editors who really polish a story. Tell the client that you can do either/or, but that the polishing will cost more. But be up front about it.
- Get good recommendations from your former/current clients, and post them to your website. – Testimonials are a great way to get additional work. I picked my cover artist based on a recommendation of another author. I picked my editor based on her position and endorsement by a national editor association. This also applies to #4, which is…
- Support and share your client’s work – If you’re proud of your work (and who isn’t!) you should share it! Supporting your client’s projects by sharing them to your social media is a great way to cross promote your skills and their work. Plus, you’re helping ensure a great, and continued, relationship. If their first book does well, then they might hire you to help with the second book.
- Keep your clients coming back through personalized service – My editor lowers the cost because she sees my writing improving, which means it needs less fixing. My cover artist helped me out with my blog’s header as a free part of a bigger deal. Offering combo deals, returning customer discounts or bonuses, all are ways to keep your clients coming back. They don’t have to include huge add-ons, but for most clients, it is far easier to work with someone familiar than try and get someone new and go through the entire ‘getting to know you’ process all over again.
What do you all think? Anything else freelancers can do to keep their clients and themselves happy? Let me know below! Also, remember to subscribe via the bar to the left, and follow me on twitter and facebook!
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