It’s the dog days of summer and it’s slow. Slow as in, NO ONE has work; agencies are quiet, businesses pinching pennies, and freelancers wondering where are all the jobs? Is anybody working? It’s stagnant, like the thick humid air, and it’s getting harder to breathe.
And I get a call. Straight from a client — a newbie — ‘we hear you write.’ Can I help them out? Welllll, let me check my book. Yepper, looks like I’m free! And they’re close, right down the road. So I go and we schmooze and it’s clear we like each other… and I show them my book, especially the techy pieces, cuz it’s what they do.
Seems the other copywriter bid the job WAY TOO HIGH, as in WAY WAY too high. Like thousands. I tell them I can do it, will do it, and they can pay me whatever they’ve budgeted because I’d like them to get to know what I can do, make sure they’re happy, hence setting up a good working relationship for the future. Clearly there’s more work down the road, but let’s make sure you like the work we’ll go from there. They assure me I won’t starve.
Sure, no problem, but the red flags are waving everywhere. Freelance designers and writers know all about this. The client that reinvents, redirects, reintroduces, changes their mind . . . again and again and again. I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN. Usually, “looks good, sounds great” translates to freelance talk as, “great — bill us.” It’s music to our ears. It’s our mating call. We love it.