Tag Archives: Saying Goodbye

You Can Do It for Love, You Can Do It for Money

I’ll be the first person to admit that I’m quick with the ax when it comes time to get rid of a challenging freelance client. Life’s too short to deal with people who make it more difficult.

But I recently ignored my rule and stuck with a high-paying client simply because, well, he was high-paying—and in retrospect, I’m very glad I did. For the first time, I was able to turn a challenging client into a loyal, lucrative one who’s manageable, if still somewhat high maintenance.

Here’s the Reader’s Digest version of the tale. Challenge number one is that he’s overseas, so there’s a time-zone issue. Challenge number two is that his English isn’t very good, so we’ve had a variety of miscommunications. Challenge number three is that he’s very demanding, and needs stuff done RIGHT NOW or he freaks out. Challenge number four is that I often have to get to double-digit drafts before he’s satisfied.

Not the ideal, eh? But the fact was he pays great, so I stuck with it. Over the course of a few months, I was able to preemptively deal with every single one of those challenges:

  • Challenge 1: I make sure I check in with him at 7 a.m., and ask if he’ll be needing my attention that day, and if so, when. I check in on weekends if I know something important is on the line.
  • Challenge 2: I’ve learned to repeat back to him what he’s said for clarification, so there are fewer miscues. Like, “So, if I am understanding you correctly, you want me to revise Project B before writing Advertisement C. Is that right?”
  • Challenge 3: I know that I need to turn stuff around more quickly for him than for most clients, which is fine because he pays a premium. More important, I ask specifically what day/time he wants things—I don’t wait for the “WHERE’S THE PROJECT A OUTLINE????” email.
  • Challenge 4: I don’t care about how many revisions there are, and I don’t take it personally if he doesn’t like something. In fact, I’ll usually assume he’s going to hate it, and then be pleasantly surprised when he’s all hearts and flowers.

Would I want an entire roster of clients like this? Heck no! But the fact is that I’ve learned to tilt the love and money equation in my favor. And it’s going to make for a nicer summer vacation than I would have otherwise had.

Question: Have you ever stuck with a client from hell purely for monetary reasons? Were you able to make any progress in turning them into a better client? If so, how?

Jake Poinier answers freelancer questions at Dr. Freelance.

A Dream Come True and the Midwest Book Review

Saying Goodbye Front Coverby Mike O’Mary

Last November, I launched a new book publishing company called Dream of Things. In fact, the launch ended up including an interview right here on Freelance-Zone. I subsequently became a regular contributor to this space.

Over the past 10 months, I’ve learned a lot. For one thing, I’ve learned to focus my efforts. No one can be all things to all people, so I decided to focus on publishing quality memoirs, anthologies of creative nonfiction, and related books. That focus is paying off in the form of three books being published this fall and winter that are going to be great reads:

  • Everything I Never Wanted to Be, a memoir of alcoholism and addiction, faith and family, hope and humor, by Dina Kucera (release date: 10/1/10)
  • Saying Goodbye…to the people, places, and things in our lives, the first Dream of Things Anthology (release date: 10/11/10)
  • MFA in a Box, a Why to Write Book, by John Rember (release date: 1/1/11).

I am excited about publication of these books, and invite you to click on any of the above links to take a closer look. But I’m also excited about all that I’ve learned in the past year — and all of the resources available to writers and editors today. Freelance-Zone, for example, is a tremendous resource. Check out the “Writers Groups by State” tab, above. This is one of the most comprehensive lists of Writers Groups I’ve seen anywhere!

mbrAnother great resource for writers, editors, and publishers is the website of Midwest Book Review. Don’t let the title fool you. Midwest Book Review is a great source of objective, quality book reviews, yes. But it also has TONS of great info on writing and publishing, as well as a substantial list of resources for readers. The site features numerous articles authored by contributors from a broad range of fields. One of my favorites is this interview with James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief of Midwest Book Review, in which he discusses MBR’s mission of promoting literacy, library usage, and small press publishing. The site also has info on becoming a book reviewer. Check it out today.