An Open Letter to a Certain Individual

10 replies
Dear Certain Individual,

If your freelancers ever have to ASSUME anything, you're not being specific enough.

Just sayin'.

Also, if a freelancer is doing you a courtesy without even getting paid for it, don't start bitching about it. Just because a person is nice to you, it doesn't mean it's right to jerk their chain around.

This is Outsourcing 101... being Specific and Respectful. Freelancers have lives, just like you. It's really not fair to us if we have to attempt any mind-reading. Chances are, we'll f**k up and neither one of us will end up very happy.

Thank you and have a nice day,

Emily
#outsources
  • Profile picture of the author WritingMadwoman
    LOL the only remedy I have found for this is to ask question after question after question. Then they get tired of the questions and tell me "just do what you think is best" - and after that I don't want to hear a single complaint. Usually I don't either, but there's always one or two who want you to read their mind but keep changing it even as you're reading it! It's frustrating but it's just one of those things that you have to deal with even if it drives you up the wall!

    Wendy
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    • Profile picture of the author Tina Golden
      I no longer deal with that. I'll ask questions if I need clarification and if you don't provide the details I need, you get what I give you. I try to ask enough questions to be certain as to what is wanted but if they don't know what they want, then they lose the right to complain.

      Those are the type of clients that I become too busy to accept their orders rather quickly.

      Tina
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  • Profile picture of the author jjpmarketing
    Just give them a document or form on a site to fill out their requests with the instructions on what you need specifically... Then you only have to do it once... not for every single client.

    Dennis
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    • Profile picture of the author Emily Meeks
      Originally Posted by WritingMadwoman View Post

      LOL the only remedy I have found for this is to ask question after question after question. Then they get tired of the questions and tell me "just do what you think is best" - and after that I don't want to hear a single complaint. Usually I don't either, but there's always one or two who want you to read their mind but keep changing it even as you're reading it! It's frustrating but it's just one of those things that you have to deal with even if it drives you up the wall!

      Wendy
      That's pretty much what this certain individual kept doing... he was so disorganized that he couldn't pick out which project he wanted me to work on, and hadn't paid me yet for any of them, so I was the one who had to pick which one to go with... I drew up an outline that I thought would be specific enough (silly silly me) but then things fell apart when it came to formatting.

      Originally Posted by TMG Enterprises View Post

      I no longer deal with that. I'll ask questions if I need clarification and if you don't provide the details I need, you get what I give you. I try to ask enough questions to be certain as to what is wanted but if they don't know what they want, then they lose the right to complain.

      Those are the type of clients that I become too busy to accept their orders rather quickly.

      Tina
      Pretty much. I also now know from experience that if you give some people an inch, they'll take a mile. If I'm doing something for free - my own free time which could be spent on my OWN life and business - it's really disrespectful to hear bitching and complaining about it. Needless to say, I'm not working with Certain Individual anymore.

      Originally Posted by jjpmarketing View Post

      Just give them a document or form on a site to fill out their requests with the instructions on what you need specifically... Then you only have to do it once... not for every single client.

      Dennis
      I'll probably do something like that with future clients... I used to think stuff like that was way too rigid and impersonal, but now I see just how necessary formal documentation is...
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      • Profile picture of the author Kay King
        If there is anything at all unclear about a new project - I email the client what I THINK it is he wants and ask if he needs to add anything to that. If not, I ask him to confirm by email that I have the "idea" right.

        If one person has several projects - HE should list them in order of priority. Then you do one at a time and get paid if that is the agreement.

        I'm confused by your post - because you mention writing for "free" but then also mention you haven't been paid for anything. If the agreement is to produce the content and then get paid, you aren't writing for "free".

        Just list the projects he has requested in an order you think is logical - send that list to him for approval and get started on the first one. Once you've been paid for that one (assuming this is the arrangement) do the second one on the list.

        If the client is disorganized about what he wants, help him clarify the problem and give him organized alternatives to choose from.

        How could things fall apart over something as simple as formatting? This sounds like someone who needs to be sent a draft of the first part of a project to see if it is what he wants - even then he may not be decisive.

        Disrespectful is another issue. You should have a professional relationship with respect on both sides. In one year I've had only two disrespectful/overly demanding buyers. They learned if you treat me like a "gofor", I'll tell you to gofor your work elsewhere.

        kay
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        • Profile picture of the author Emily Meeks
          Originally Posted by Kay King View Post

          If there is anything at all unclear about a new project - I email the client what I THINK it is he wants and ask if he needs to add anything to that. If not, I ask him to confirm by email that I have the "idea" right.

          If one person has several projects - HE should list them in order of priority. Then you do one at a time and get paid if that is the agreement.

          I'm confused by your post - because you mention writing for "free" but then also mention you haven't been paid for anything. If the agreement is to produce the content and then get paid, you aren't writing for "free".

          Just list the projects he has requested in an order you think is logical - send that list to him for approval and get started on the first one. Once you've been paid for that one (assuming this is the arrangement) do the second one on the list.

          If the client is disorganized about what he wants, help him clarify the problem and give him organized alternatives to choose from.

          kay
          Sorry bout that - I'm probably going to sound even more vague so bear with me > I was paid for the writing - there was some extra formatting involved that I said I'd do as a courtesy, and that's where everything got dodgy. He'd mentioned that someone else who was working for him could work with it as well, so when I asked him if he'd message this other person about something I needed help with it, but then he was all like, "No I'm not hiring anyone else to do anything blah blah blah." At this point I pointed out that hey, I took my own time to do extra stuff for him (a BIG mistake I now realize).

          I'd tried the prioritization thing - he'd mentioned he'd wanted me to do X, Y and Z, but when I repeated it back to him, he didn't really confirm or deny anything - instead he tacked on A, B, and C, with X as a footnote.

          I eventually picked Product X and drew up an outline - outline for what the ebook would have, as well as autoresponder/articles. I gave him a hefty discount because I was using some PLR (which he was okay with and actually encouraged). After I got done with everything, he wanted to change some stuff around (again). Even before I'd finished this project he was looking to get started on his NEXT project (which was never mentioned before).

          I was really disappointed with the outcome of everything - he seemed like a nice guy, just disorganized.
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Ames
    A ticketing system can help in some of the communication and agreement. Everything is right there for both to see. If their requirements are not clear you can put the ball back in their court with a Status of "Need More Info" . If the project is done and something is not right, chances are they were not clear enough.

    Too many times I've seen requirements that drift, are not clear, and really don't describe exactly what the person wanted. Sometimes they don't even know what they want.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bill Farnham
    Originally Posted by moneysoapbox View Post

    Also, if a freelancer is doing you a courtesy without even getting paid for it, don't start bitching about it. Just because a person is nice to you, it doesn't mean it's right to jerk their chain around.
    "Don't confuse my kindess with weakness" is another way to put it...

    It must be a latent trait of human nature left over from our club wielding days that makes us want to act like cave dwellers sometimes.

    Or as they say, "no good deed goes unpunished."

    ~Bill
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  • Profile picture of the author jjpmarketing
    You can still personalize it by sending them an actual personal email upon receipt. The most frequent question I get is "What do you need from me?". This can always be answered by "go here and fill out this form". Not impersonal, just part of the process.

    Dennis
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  • Profile picture of the author Mohammad Afaq
    Originally Posted by moneysoapbox View Post

    Dear Certain Individual,

    If your freelancers ever have to ASSUME anything, you're not being specific enough.

    Just sayin'.

    Also, if a freelancer is doing you a courtesy without even getting paid for it, don't start bitching about it. Just because a person is nice to you, it doesn't mean it's right to jerk their chain around.

    This is Outsourcing 101... being Specific and Respectful. Freelancers have lives, just like you. It's really not fair to us if we have to attempt any mind-reading. Chances are, we'll f**k up and neither one of us will end up very happy.

    Thank you and have a nice day,

    Emily
    Informal , Short and to the point.

    Now that's how I like it
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