I love Twitter, but one thing I admit can be lacking from the service is that it doesn’t allow for embedded images, audio or video in the Twitter stream. Still, there are plenty of apps to help you to integrate multimedia into your tweets. Read more »
As an online freelancer, I work for people all over the globe. This is one of the perks of web work — how else can I work with such a diverse group of people without constantly hopping on planes? But diversity comes with some challenges. Read more »
In the last year, I had the pleasure to work with some amazing clients, bring out my first e-book and attend some great conferences. I saw my own blog grow and even if there was a disappointment or two, I managed to buy a house, so I think […] Read more »
Yesterday, I wrote about the power of newsletters, but how can you ensure that people actually read your newsletter? Here are a few tips. Read more »
Don’t you love this time of the year? It’s a time when we go out of our way to help others. Tap our feet to joyous music. Guzzle peppermint-, gingerbread- or eggnog-flavored drinks. Then there are the smart businesses that add client appreciation to their holiday […] Read more »
Client questionnaires should be easy. You can send your questions over via email, your client hits the “Reply” button and answers away. But, for some reason, it’s not always that straightforward. Some clients might skip questions or answer them incorrectly, while others might want to skip […] Read more »
When you think about growing a business, you think about how to attract customers. You might build a web site, create marketing materials, and look for ways to get your message to the masses, but have you ever considered ways to repel clients? Separating the wheat […] Read more »
We’ve all heard the horror stories of difficult clients. Anyone offering client services has been there. No company can function effectively when confronted with clients who operate from a place of fear — which is often at the root of most difficult clients you encounter. You […] Read more »
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” — Confucius The bottom line for every business owner is this. If you can’t keep customers and clients, your business will fail. Ironically, we tend to forget this fact by getting caught up in the […] Read more »
At the start of their careers, most freelancers take on every new client that comes along. But as we mature and gain more experience, we become more discerning when we’re choosing who we work with. This usually happens because we’re starting to specialize, we want to […] Read more »
Every time I apply for a new job, I am always excited to start working. Despite this, some prospects don’t always seem to share my enthusiasm. They might seem uninterested and may stall negotiations or contract signing. How can you tell if a prospect isn’t serious about working with you and what should you do about it? Read more »
Whenever I feel like I’m battling myself and losing in trying get writing done, I can hear my mom saying, “You’re human, not a machine.” She’s right. We’re all going to have days where we hit the wall and can’t muster up energy to do our main jobs. And that’s OK!
Instead of feeling guilty, I do other tasks that matter to my business but aren’t my main job. They don’t require the same energy or “mood” as writing does. Try one of these next time you hit the wall. Read more »
Working on the web is great, but you miss out on some great business-building opportunities if you’re far removed from the majority of your clients. Business lunches and dinners are a fantastic tool for greasing the wheels of profitable partnerships, but if you’re in Taipei and your client is in Reno, it can be a little hard to coordinate. What web workers should not do, and what we too often do, is just shrug our shoulders and leave it at that.
Even across great distances, we can still schmooze and butter-up with the best of ‘em. Here are some examples of how you might go about bridging that geographic gap to form a solid client-contractor bond. Read more »
Many freelancers, especially at the beginning of their careers, may find themselves working with very difficult clients. When this has happened to me, either I helped change the client’s working behavior or stopped working with them altogether. While I always aim for the former approach, sometimes the better option is to end the working relationship. Whenever this happens I hope that if I do work with the client again in the future, they’ll be more cooperative — but that’s not guaranteed.
When one of your more difficult clients contacts you for a new project, how do you work with them again, without repeating the problems you previously had? Read more »
Much as we wish it wasn’t true, on occasion we take on a contract that gets us in over our heads. Especially when just starting out, and/or we’re unfamiliar with the field or industry we’re working in. Obviously, realizing that you can’t deliver what the client is expecting, and what you originally agreed to produce, can be a very stressful experience. It may even seem like it’s the end of your professional life.
It mostly likely isn’t, so don’t panic. There are steps you can take to mitigate the damage and come out as clean as possible on the other side. Read more »
Recently, I was subcontracting for an ad agency when things went unexpectedly wrong. There had been points in the process when I felt things weren’t quite right, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. In retrospect, I can see that those moments were actually blatant warning signs that the project was going awry.
Now I keep these warning signs in mind. They’re indicators that I need to take immediate action to keep my project on track. If you’re working remotely, that can be much harder to do than if you have daily face-to-face contact with your colleagues, but hopefully these tips will help you avoid the trap I fell into. Read more »
“Just do your work and then I’ll pay you.” I couldn’t believe what I was reading. My client told me to “just do (my) work” and yet he didn’t want to discuss any of the things that I needed to know to get the work done in the first place.He wanted to do away with the needs analysis stage and just get me to write a 50-page e-book based on a vague one paragraph description. If there’s a web app for telepathy I haven’t seen it, so he shouldn’t expect that I know how to finish a project after the first two emails.
To avoid this problem in the future, I’m reevaluating the way I work with clients. How do I include them in my work process? Can I improve on my current methodology? Read more »
Some years ago a web designer asked me if I thought it was right for him to design a site for a religious group whose values he completely disagreed with. “The site is actively promoting their beliefs,” he said, “and I’m not sure I want to be a part of that.”
I was reminded of his dilemma last week, when a potential client contacted me to ask if I could write sales copy for his multilevel marketing scheme — at twice my usual fee. After doing a bit of research on the company, however, it became apparent that this person was running a scam.
As freelancers, we sometimes get requests that we find shady. These can range from the above examples to creating promotional materials for companies whose ethics we don’t completely agree with. How do we deal with these requests? Read more »
Let’s say you’re trying to take over the world and bring all governments under your control. You have to keep records of all this stuff on your computer, of course. Now what if your plan is almost foiled because you chose a stupid password like the […] Read more »
Social media, while white hot with professionals working in the space, has yet to catch fire with clients. How do you convince reluctant clients that it has value? Read more »
With their latest lineup of products, Apple is pushing the new environmental features in an aggressive way. Rightly so, they are proud of their achievement — going from a heavily criticized Mac and iPod lineup a few years ago, to a set of very environmentally friendly […] Read more »
So, um, I guess some people were saying that that election-themed videos would, starting Wednesday, literally be yesterday’s news. Man, how stupid were those people? Right? Right? But to my credit, the tone of discourse has changed with the conclusion of the campaign. College Humor released […] Read more »
How do you separate the great clients from the nightmares? Read our post and find out. Read more »
Ok, you’ve had days where you felt the way that this guy looks. Smaa-ck! Now consider this: He got on base. It’s just one more way that founding is like baseball. “Not everyone gets a home run, but sooner or later you’re bound to get hit […] Read more »
Google recently announced a new feature: forms. By combining spreadsheets with bulk e-mail, the new function (which was revealed on the Google Docs blog) lets a spreadsheet author send out a mail with fields for recipients to fill in. As they do, the spreadsheet gets completed. […] Read more »
Lucy Kellaway is a columnist for the Financial Times and the workplace commentator for BBC Radio’s daily Business Brief, where she serially kvetches about poor business jargon and why you should never use it. Tonight I caught her hilarious take on our latest “lethal” and “horrid […] Read more »
[qi:013] This week I read a fascinating article by Joe Weinman that was published in Business Communications Review. In it, he proposes an innovative concept that could initiate a paradigm shift in Internet search, fixing what may be its biggest problem: too many results, many of […] Read more »
The big news reported everywhere this week is a prediction that notebook computers (read laptops) will outsell desktops by the year 2011. This is such big news it was even reported by my local TV news team. As soon as I saw this prediction my memory […] Read more »
In the large scheme of telecom things, 10 billion minutes is really like an hour. But for a young start-up like Skype, ten billion minutes is a big achievement. Something that squeezes out a tear of joy from a hard heart skeptic like me. Skype Journal […] Read more »