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When a Freelance Writing Client Changes Direction

From time to time, I work with clients who have no idea what they want. Well, they seem to know what they want when we first talk, but over time they change their minds time after time. While I can understand where they are coming from, most of these clients never take the time to think about the writer. Obviously, when a client decides to change direction mid-project it can cause major issues. Not only does the writer have to stop working, but there is a chance that many edits and complete revisions will be requested.

Here are two common “direction changers” that I have run into in the past. Although they may not be common, there is a chance that you will encounter these issues sometime during the course of your freelance writing career.

1. The project is going along just fine, and out of nowhere the client tells you that they are no longer interested in moving forward. I have had clients do this, and then pay me what they owe. But at the same time I have had clients who cancel a project and tell me that they do not have to pay because they don’t want the completed content. Of course, this is not fair to the writer in the least bit.

If you run into a situation where a client does not way to pay after canceling a project, the best thing you can do is explain your side of the story and hope that they will come around.

2. Midway through a project, you get an email or phone call from the client saying that they love your work but the entire scope of the project has changed. For instance, you may have been working on 10 keyword articles on general health when the client tells you that all 10 need to touch on diabetes, symptoms, and treatment. While a similar category, it will be on you to revise the articles. In many cases, a change of direction like this can put you back to square one.

Once again, if you encounter this situation you need to be open and honest with the client. State that you also like working with them, but that you put a lot of time into the initial project. They may offer you a “kill fee” as well as payment for the new project. If you don’t ask, but instead sit back and take it, you will run into this situation time after time without any monetary compensation.

Just like a lot of people in the business world, freelance writing clients have the tendency to change their mind from time to time. You need to make sure that you are as accommodating as possible but that you do not go so far that you put yourself out. Simply put, you should do what the original project guidelines state and then deal with any change in direction as it comes up. 

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4 Comments »Freelance WritingJune 27th, 2008

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