10 things I wish clients knew

  1. Yes, I really am quite serious when I correct your “XYZ Company are committed…” to “XYZ is committed…” Companies, like most collective nouns, take singular verbs. Please stop ‘fixing’ this in the revisions you make to my submitted text, because then I just have to change it back again.
  1. On the topic of grammar, please stop asking me if I’m “sure” that I’ve used effect correctly, or put the apostrophe in the right place, or used a capital letter appropriately. This is my job. I do this stuff all day. I’ve done it for 10 years. I’m quite good at it. And if the item is in the copy I’ve submitted to you as Version 1, there’s a 95{7aef4e5c6853be3cc4d057a807069aa9f2ae8fd184061eb63ea53e14fedec9bd} chance* I put it there deliberately.
  1. There is only one space after the modern full stop. Every major style guide – including the Modern Language Association Style Manual and the Chicago Manual of Style – says so, and so it is. Okay?
  1. There is no such noun as “a revert” (I’m looking at you, advertising agencies). There is also no such verb phrase, in the context of replying to someone, as “revert back”. Yes, I’m sure. If something “reverts”, it is undone, changed back to the way it was before, or (in software) rolled back. I promise.
  1. The reason I haven’t put adjectives like “unique” or “innovative” in your copy is because they’re crap. If you insist on inserting them when you review the first draft of the text, I will try once to reason with you (perhaps even showing you this helpful video) and then I will let you have your way.
  1. It is impossible to write copy for a company website in under 48 hours, unless you are happy to pay for utter hogwash (which, frankly, I’m not happy to produce). So if you want anything of value from me, please give me the time I need to do justice to it. Overnighters and last-minuters are inevitably… crap. No, I can’t just “whip it up”, “copy someone else’s site” or “use a template”.
  1. On the topic of copying other people’s stuff… No, I can’t do some Googling, find all of your competitors and base your brochure on what they’ve said. For one thing, that’s copyright infringement. For another, why would you want to pay me money to steal someone else’s average stuff? I’d much rather write you your own good stuff. But I need input from you in order to do that.
  1. Yes, I am serious about requesting a deposit from new clients. No, I’m not trying to “be a hard-ass”. You got one free consultation. Now it’s money time.
  1. Yes, I do require a signed quote (or an email confirmation, if you’re a regular) before starting a job. No, I don’t consider this “unnecessary red tape”. And yes, I do believe in confirming scope creep as it happens. No, I’m not trying to “make the job all about money”. I want us both to be happy when I invoice.
  1. To be clear, freelancing is, largely, about money. You pay me some. I do some work for you and I hand the work over. You’re happy with the work, so you give me the rest of the money. That’s business. Right? I don’t work for free, for “exposure”, for “more work later” or “because it won’t take long”.

Clear? Great. Have a lovely day.

* Okay, okay. We all have our off days. That’s where the other 5{7aef4e5c6853be3cc4d057a807069aa9f2ae8fd184061eb63ea53e14fedec9bd} comes in.

*This post originally appeared on freelancentral.co.za.