Brooklin Nash is a freelancer, content marketing expert and is in the process of building his own agency. He regularly inspires us on social media, takes us transparently through the ups and downs of freelancing and has mastered the art of clear and simple client communication.
Clear client communication
1. How do you package your services to make it clear to clients what you offer?
I separate my offering into two buckets: content strategy and content execution. Content execution (writing case studies, articles, and eBooks) is packaged into a monthly rate for a minimum of 6 months, based on the number of deliverables they need. If they just need strategy help, I quote a one-time project rate. If they need both, I typically wrap the strategy work up into the monthly rate quoted above.
2. When dealing with a new client, how do you qualify them up-front (to make sure you’re a good fit for them, and them for you)?
I usually ask about three things:
Their current approach to content. (What do they have in place already?)
Their goals with content. (What are they looking to change?)
Their budget for content. (Not just with me, but total.)
Getting good answers in these three areas typically tells me if they’re a good fit. I’m looking to be a long-term partner, not a one-off freelancer.
3. Once you’ve decided a client may be a good fit, talk to us about your proposal process. What do you include to help make your expectations and deliverables clear to clients?
I send a proposal with the scope of work (number of deliverables each month, strategy work if relevant, and timing) and billing expectations. The combination makes sure there’s no surprises come kickoff time.
4. Do you have regular meetings with clients? If so, how do you prepare for those meetings?
It honestly depends on the client and the project. If I’m doing both strategy and execution work for them, we typically have a weekly or bi-weekly check in meeting. If it’s highly project based (e.g. one large guide over the course of 6 or 7 weeks), we usually have a kick off call.
To prepare for the regular meetings, I make sure I’ve accomplished all the pending to dos on my end and make a note of any new questions that have come up. That way, even if we don’t have a formal agenda, we have a clear path forward to what we need to talk about.
5. Have you ever had to fire a client? If so, how did you communicate that to them?
Maybe it’s a little juvenile, but I typically just raise my prices by quite a bit, citing the growth of my services. It’s usually only for clients who are highly unresponsive or keep changing the scope of work. That said, I’ve never “fired” a client in the middle of a contract or project.
6. Any other tips or advice for freelancers on how to clearly communicate with clients?
This sounds like obvious advice, but be proactive! Your clients get busy—you don’t want to be waiting around until the middle of the month to get the briefs they owe you. Check in the last week of the previous month (“just planning out my bandwidth for this next month”) and check up on missing items at least weekly. I’d rather be annoying than let something fall through the cracks and be seen as not doing my work well (whether it’s true or not).