you knocked yourself out to get that client to work with you, and she was a perfect fit.
but, after the project ended, you never heard from her again.
maybe that’s the story of your entire business — get a new client, do the writing, fail to get more work. get another client, do the writing, fail to get more work.
needless to say, this is a very frustrating way to run a freelance writing business.
what if you could attract clients and then, after each project is finished, have them want to work with you again — and again and again? what would that mean to your productivity, your profitability, and your state of mind?
gaining loyal and repeat clients isn’t really a super power. it’s simply a way of approaching business relationships that anyone can master.
but thinking of it as a super power can help you create ways to provide your clients more of what they truly need, and keep them coming back for more.
do you consistently amaze and astonish your clients?
superheroes stand out. they command respect. not only because they help people, but because they have ultra-cool super powers — their own unique, super special attributes that affect the way they help people — which leave everyone wanting more.
your work helps people too. but do you blow clients away with your own unique way of doing it? do your clients feel like they can always rely on you to come through and save the day? do they think of you as their own powerful secret weapon? can they hardly wait to work with you again so they can watch you work your magic?
or, too often, do you just become an order taker, writing what your client has asked you to provide, regardless of all the other great ideas and talents you have?
you have super powers too
whether you believe it or not, you have the ability — right now — to choose a superhero identity, and wear that identity throughout the course of your client engagement.
and you can change your super powers based on the type of clients you have, the stages your varied clients are in, and what kind of content your clients need.
no more order taking.
first, determine what your client needs
before choosing which superhero to be for any particular client or project, first take a look at the client herself. determine her most basic need: what’s truly challenging her, besides the details of the work?
she might be:
- under pressure
- lacking confidence
or she might be in some other anxiety-prone state of mind … which is why she’s hired you.
next, choose the superhero who can help your client the most
once you’ve identified your client’s state of mind, choose your superhero for the specific situation you’re facing, and prepare yourself for the part. superman used a phone booth for his transformation. you can just use your imagination, but be sure to properly assume your role.
what follows are five freelance writing superhero choices and examples of situations where they’ll work for you, and your business …
1. the hero
“here i come to save the day!”
if your client is under pressure and desperate, you can be the hero who saves the day.
imagine this …
an important client has a big deadline looming and has waited until the last minute to get it done. he needs your expertise and he needs it now.
there’s a glitch, though. as soon as he hands you the details, he’s off on another project, out of the country, and isn’t available. he wants you to write his presentation and deliver it right before he submits it. you have no time for back-and-forth approvals.
your client’s reputation rests on your ability to craft this important assignment well.
you both know you can do it, but you don’t usually work without approvals. it’s like walking the tightrope without a net. accepting this project requires courage.
the impression you make when you save the day for your client will be tangible, and he’ll remember that he can count on you. you’ll be his hero from this time forward — an ultra-valuable partner he can’t do without.
warning: making a habit of doing “rush” or “emergency” jobs is no way to run a sane freelance writing business. but doing it at the right time, for the right client, can alter the course of your operation forever.
2. the helper
“i can see what needs to be done, and i will take care of it.”
if your client is overwhelmed and exhausted, you can be the helper, who has the ability to see what needs to be done, and does it — often without anyone asking.
imagine this …
you can tell by your initial conversations that your client has been burning the candle at both ends, trying to slog through the immense pile of work assigned to her. in trying to give you direction, she quickly becomes overwhelmed.
instead of becoming annoyed at not getting good direction, you don your helper super powers. you see areas that are backing her up — some she hasn’t asked you to take care of, some she hasn’t even recognized herself.
you ask questions, like, “what if i organize all this and bring back some recommendations?”
her relief is palpable. you come back with everything organized, including a simple checklist that outlines how you can assist, and a list of additional content elements she may not have thought you could provide.
she can’t believe her good fortune.
she now knows you can cut through the clutter and find real ways to assist, a skill far more valuable than simply doing what she asks of you. will she be back? you betcha, batman.
3. the sage
“i have the knowledge to help you pull this off.”
if your client is inexperienced, unsure, and lacking confidence, you can be the sage, who brings wisdom, judgment, and experience to the project.
imagine this …
your client is woefully under-equipped for her job. her false bravado barely masks how she’s actually scared and afraid someone will blow the whistle on her.
she gives you terrible direction, and she’s missing all sorts of information. still, she’s in charge, and it’s a wonderful project you can truly assist her with.
you’ve already determined that asking questions is pointless, because she doesn’t know the answers — she’s never done this before.
gently, with the patience only wisdom and experience can bring, you take her under your wing. you show how she can bring the project in with a big splash — things that will truly impress her boss and make her look great in her job. you bolster her confidence with proven strategies and show her how writing and content fit in.
when she knows you’re on her side and can boost her credibility while adding to her job knowledge, she’ll want to have you available whenever she needs you. you can become her super-secret weapon.
you may even have an advocate for life — and none of your competitors will be able to gain ground with her. because you have gained her trust, this is a client who will come back to you again and again.
4. the interpreter
“don’t worry; i can walk you through this.”
if your client is frustrated, overwhelmed, and unsure, you can be the interpreter who makes things easier to understand.
imagine this …
your client is super busy, and got in over his head. he needs you to write about something he doesn’t understand himself — and what’s worse, you can’t do the work without some level of understanding on his part. halfway through explaining the situation to you, he realizes he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
you know your client is smart and educated in many areas — this just isn’t one of them.
instead of waiting for him to get his act together, you tell him …
don’t worry, i get it. i can talk you through your part — i’ve done this before. there’s a certain order we need to do this in, that’s all. let me plot it out and i’ll get a plan back to you.
your client may never have had anyone advise him like this before. you’ve just used your super powers to become super valuable to him. he won’t forget your ability to understand how these things work, and he’ll be back too.
5. the magician
“let me just take this off your plate. it’ll all come together … like magic.”
if your client is stressed, harried, overworked, frustrated, and under pressure, you can be the magician who makes things happen … as if by magic.
imagine this …
your client has to put on a big event — and is she ever wigged out! she wants you to provide content for a small part, which of course you can do.
using your super powers, you see she’s going to be crazy unavailable and hard to contact, right from the get-go, on your part of the project. you can see her spinning out of control already, which means you can crash and burn too, if you can’t get her approval at critical stages.
by asking a few questions, you find out things are on her list that, if you had control over them, would make your work go more smoothly while making it easier for her as well. so you shoot her a proposal to include them in your scope of work. it’s better for you, and a larger part of her headache gets taken off of her plate.
she can’t believe it. she asked you to do one thing, and presto, you jumped in and removed a larger chunk of her problem, like magic. she’s so happy — and she’ll be back the next time she needs someone who can truly assist her.
just use your x-ray vision
in any situation with any client, only by using your super powerful x-ray vision will you see certain opportunities — you just have to look for them.
of course, waiting for the client to tell you what to do is easier. they know what they need; they’re the client, right?
no, it’s not right. they’re not just clients.
now you know that every client is a person you can assist.
now you have new super powers, if you’re willing to assume them. and you have to use them soon, or the abilities you’ve gained here will fade. don’t let that happen.
don’t lose faith in your own capability. don’t doubt your own genius. don’t step back into your old habit of just taking orders from clients.
the world needs more superheroes. and your clients need you.
do you want your clients to stick around and work with you again and again?