6 Assumptions About Writing Clients That Will End Your Business

no assumptionsI was talking with a coaching client recently and realized she had a set of assumptions about writing clients that would, if not corrected, sink her freelance writing business.

She’s not alone in this at all. There’s something seemingly inherent in human nature that makes us sure we know what some other person is thinking.

But we don’t – not really. And how could we?

Sure, humans have a lot in common, but we have huge differences too. When we make assumptions about our writing clients or our potential writing clients we tend to make the wrong ones. Far better to assume nothing and ask questions until all gets clear.

Typical Assumptions

Here are six assumptions many writers make about their clients that simply may not be ture:

You can’t move low paying clients up in price. Often this is true. If someone’s been paying you to write for them for $5 or $10 an article, or five cents a word, they are going to be startled if you jump your fees to a dollar a word. But you never know. At least give them a chance to pay your rate and occasionally one will. Or they will offer something you consider reasonable. To assume no client will ever pay more than they’ve been paying is to leave money on the table.

Sole proprietors can’t pay as much as corporations. Just because a business is owned and run by a sole proprietor doesn’t mean they aren’t making enough to pay you well. You won’t know until you ask. Some entrepreneurs have more money to spend on writing than some corporations.

Potential clients who say no won’t help you find some who say yes. When a potential client says they aren’t interested in hiring you, ask them if they know someone who would be. People love to help and sometimes you’ll get a referral that makes it worth your while to ask.

Potential clients who say no today won’t hire you in 90 days. Unless a potential client specifically asks you not to contact them again, try in three or six months. Things in business are always changing.

Clients know what kind of writing they want and need. Often the client only knows they need writing for something – a website, a marketing piece, n instruction manual, a white paper, and they may not know even that much. Remember you’re the expert in writing – that’s why they are hiring you. Ask questions, and you can gently guide them where they need to go.

Clients know how writing actually gets done. If you assume the client has any clue how writing actually gets done you’re likely to be surprised and not get paid for something you think of as extra, but the client assumes is part of the gig.  It’s up to you to make sure both you and your client are precisely clear about the details of the writing job.

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What assumptions about writing clients have you found to be untrue?

Write well and often,

Anne Wayman



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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori January 8, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Nice one, Anne. I think in general, assumptions are always a bad idea. I used to have the assumption that the big corporations wouldn’t want to do business with the likes of me. Luckily, they proved me wrong time and again.

Valerie Bolden-Barrett January 8, 2014 at 11:43 pm

You’re so right, Anne. In fact, assumptions can hurt careers, relationships and other parts of our lives. You made a nice tie-in of assumptions to writing.

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