Freelancing By Nick Whitmore Are You Leaving Money on the Table? You might be leaving money on the table. Yes, you. It could be hundreds or thousands of dollars each year – but I'm fairly certain you're leaving money on the table. How does that make you feel? Repeat business is good business when you are a writer – at least, that's what I've always been told. But lots of writers out there don't receive as much repeat business as they could because they unknowingly annoy, alienate and completely frustrate their clients (and this, ladies and gentlemen, is why money is left on the table). Let's take a look at the most frequent ways in which writers alienate their clients. 1. Missed deadlines Missed deadlines probably top the list of annoyances clients have to deal with. Whether you're writing website content for a client, or a book for a publishing house, you must deliver on time. Missed deadlines are frustrating and can cause huge monetary losses. If you're no good at meeting deadlines, be sure to build a safety net when setting them. If a project will take one month, tell the client six weeks just to be safe. That way, if you complete the work within one month you can present the project earlier than agreed (clients love that, by the way!). And if you're behind schedule, you should still meet the deadline because you built in a little room for maneuvering. 2. Infrequent/poor communication People like to be kept informed – they like to know exactly what's going on. This goes for your writing clients too. How hard is it to send a quick email update to clients to let them know where you're up to? Even if you do it every few days, your effort will be appreciated. You may not think it's necessary to update clients, but if you receive an email asking you for updates, you definitely need to respond in a reasonable time frame. There’s no excuse for not responding to your clients' emails. It's rude and completely unprofessional. 3. Error-riddled work Different people have different takes on grammar errors and spelling mistakes. Some writers think it's perfectly acceptable for them to be present in first drafts. In my experience, however, a lot of clients roll with the first draft, and might not bother checking it for grammatical or spelling errors. For that reason alone, every single piece of work you hand over to clients must be in a state such that it can be published – whether you consider it the first draft or the final version. Always proofread and edit work prior to handing it over, no matter what stage of the project you happen to be at. 4. Being unreceptive to revision requests It's a fact of life that as a writer you'll have to perform revisions for some clients. That's just how things are. Don't be one of those writers who's sluggish to respond to revision requests, or one who contests every last revision with clients. The customer is always right, so where possible you should make all revisions promptly and professionally. Do this and your clients will return to use your services time after time! 5. Ridiculous financial demands Some writers practically demand bonuses and tips when they've completed an assignment. This is not on. The price you quote for the job should be the price you expect to receive. Any bonuses or gratuities are paid at the client's discretion. Another thing to remember is that clients need time to review work, so don't insist that they pay your invoice the second you hand over the work to them. Always allow at least a week before contacting a client about an unpaid invoice. Now that you know the major ways in which a writer alienates clients, you can make sure you avoid them and rake it in, as repeat business booms! Have I got it all wrong? Have you been getting it right so far? Only you can answer that one. Tell me exactly what you think in the comments section below – don't hold back!