What are your customers really saying about you?

I’m not referring to your testimonials here, or what people say about you in networking meetings.  Just that if you’re a freelancer or you own a company, a glance at your client list will speak volumes about the business you are, and what kind of work you accept.

You don’t have to look very far to find a wealth of advice that tells you how to win more business, but it’s always useful to ask yourself: what sort of business do you actually want to win?  What’s the most important attribute you look for in a potential client?

One of the reasons I decided to work for myself is because I’m getting worse at being told what to do.  But as a freelance writer, it’s also important that I work with people and businesses who care about how they’re represented in words. 

I was reminded of this when I spoke with a potential client last week.  His website needed a complete refresh, he said, before telling me that I would be able to write whatever I wanted about his business.

“Just make some stuff up if you like,” he told me, “and if you need any industry information then I’m sure you can find it all online somewhere.”  

Though the work was going to be well-paid, I turned it down (hint: if you really don’t care about your written content, it doesn’t matter who writes it – so go as cheap as you can get!  Why waste your money on not sharing your unique approach, personality and expertise?)

There’s nothing wrong with “making some stuff up”, I suppose – unless you’re an MP, or you write for a national newspaper.  I just don’t want to work that way, because I can’t take any pride in the resulting words.  Not to mention that all the client would get is a bland and impersonal summary of whatever I can find about their industry online.

Basically, everybody ends up getting short-changed, and if I wanted that feeling on a regular basis, I’d go back to working in an office!

Starting a business on your own is really, really hard, and it’s often thankless – meaning it’s even more important that you do your work well, and on your terms.  So if you’re stuck for something to do over Christmas, you could do a lot worse than to scan that client list and see just what it’s saying about you and your business!

Pressed for time?  You can still start a blog, update your website or write an ebook before Christmas – simply get in contact to find out just how I can help.

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