A few months ago, I had a client who had been sitting on what should have been my final draft of copy for nearly a month.
I was eager to wrap that baby up so we could get this hot package in the mail and I could start earning royalties.
Plus there was a 5-figure balance payment on the copywriting fee riding on its completion.
But the copy was held up in some kind of hellish purgatory...for no discernible reason.
"Bitchy Kimmy" hates when this happens. But she also realizes she's partly to blame. Here's why...
There are always client “red flags” you need to know about and spot in advance. After nearly 20 years as a freelancer I can tell you they’ve served me well.
And when I’ve ignored them I’ve regretted it later.
Just because you’re an A-level copywriter doesn’t mean you’re immune to them. And when you get to the big leagues, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to them.
What did I ignore about this particular client? He’s a solo entrepreneur and still has a day job at a major computer company. So he’s not a big player.
He also seemed initially concerned about paying my standard magalog copywriting fee (plus royalty), and there was a bit of back and forth on that.
But he decided to go for it and rounded up enough dough to hire me to write him his next blockbuster control.
So this new client of mine was being careful. Very careful. TOO careful, looking over and reviewing every word of copy, instead of just trusting that he’s hired someone with one of the best track records of success in supplement copywriting.
Or maybe he was just too busy with his day job to finish reviewing it.
Or maybe he didn’t have the money available to pay me the balance due.
Now I didn’t take this job on to simply get the copywriting fee, although let’s face it,
it helps pay the bills.
If I didn’t have other streams of income coming in via royalties, or didn’t have clients booking me for projects and rushing me 5-figure advances to book my time months out, I’d have been up the proverbial creek.
I’d be wondering how to pay my mortgage, credit card bills, quarterly taxes, kid's college tuition, etc.
And probably riding this guy’s ass every day about when he’s going to get back to me...and coming across as desperate.
Of course It'd have been nice to get my hands on the balance he owed me sooner than later.
But it was even more irritating that this package could have been out in the mail during prime mailing season.
Eventually, he got back to me and we called the project a "wrap". And it did finally just mail (too early for results).
But this experience made me think about establishing hard and fast time frames with certain clients, with clear expectations for when feedback is to be delivered.
It's also why one of my “red flags” is screening out the small players who don’t have what it takes to be big players.
Now, I’ve worked with smaller supplement companies with highly entrepreneurial founders with much success. They’ve been some of my favorite clients.
But you have to know how to screen out the ones that aren’t that way in advance. I ignored a few red flags on this one, and look what happened.