Or, Why Losing My Job Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me
Week 20 – Undersell, Over Deliver
Okay, so this week, I actually took some time off writing, blogging and pitching in order to get my basement storeroom finally organized and clean.
It was a monumental task that has been nagging at me for a year, ever since I moved into my house. I’m one of those people that can’t abide clutter. Even if it is hiding in my basement. Out of sight is rarely out of mind for me.
It was akin to constant, background white noise that was driving me crazy.
So I took the time to deal with it.
While I was at it, I cleaned and organized the rest of the basement and laundry room. After that, I moved on to my upstairs hall closets and my kitchen.
My house is now so squeaky clean and uncluttered, my mind is now free to concentrate on more important things. Like turning up the heat on work-related items.
I know, it may be a little obsessive, but I work best in an orderly environment.
I did make some headway in my freelance business this week, however.
In the midst of moving boxes, re-packing bins and moving said bins back into my store room, I would check in with my email every now and then.
I was contacted by a client on Upwork, who asked me to bid on a job she had – a 500-word article. After some quick back and forth emails, she accepted my proposal. Now I have one job lined up. That was a huge win for me.
I also finished my final draft on an article that is due for a gardening magazine and got that submitted.
And finally, Mother Earth News liked my last blog post and asked if they could re-print it as a regular feature. That was another win.
All the groundwork I have laid for the last year is starting to show some returns. Even in terms of my own confidence levels, skills and abilities. The foundation is in place. Now I can start building on it.
Which brings me to the next step of the process.
One of the best ways to gain the confidence of clients is to deliver excellent work. A sure way to gain their confidence is to deliver over and above what was promised.
This is the concept of “Undersell, Over Deliver.”
What this means is that you make sure that what you deliver to your clients exceeds their expectations. Give them full value for their money, and then some.
Be someone who your client can count on to deliver high-quality work every time.
It takes time and practice to learn how to write well. It also takes time to understand what the client needs, what their brand is about and what they expect of you as the freelance writer.
It’s a simple concept, really, and applies to almost every business. As a customer or client, you will always return to those companies or vendors who give a little more to your order. You will always think favorably of the business that always goes the extra mile or adds a little extra to their service or product.
As a freelance writer, my job is to find out what the client needs and then deliver that. It is also my mandate to go the extra mile.
That’s just good business.
So what does that mean in practical terms?
Add some extra photos. Make your writing accurate, error-free, and eliminate any unnecessary text.
No one likes clutter. Even in writing.
Do the extra research so you have a good list of references. Deliver the article, blog post or project a bit early. This will allow plenty for revisions. Be open to suggestion. Be willing to makes the changes that the client wants.
In other words, go out of your way to make sure your client is not just happy with the final product. Make sure they are thrilled with it.
You learn as you go, too. The more articles I have written, the more I have learned about what constitutes “clean” text or “tight” writing. This is writing that is free of a lot of extra, wordy descriptions, unnecessary adjectives, adverbs or modifiers. Don’t say “very big”, for example. Say “huge”.
The first rule of clean writing: Get to the point. Say what needs to be said in as few words as possible.
The second rule of clean writing: Make sure your spelling, grammar and punctuation are absolutely perfect.
The less time a client needs to spend on editing, the happier they are going to be.
The biggest rule of “Undersell, Over Deliver”: Never give your client sloppy writing.
The best way to ensure I always turn in exceptional, clean writing is to make sure I give myself enough time to do my research, write my draft and do a thorough edit before I turn it in. When my writing is organized and clutter-free, I can feel good about submitting it to my client.
Hopefully that will help me to produce writing that my clients are thrilled with.
My take-away this week: Always deliver your top work. That will keep the clients coming back.
Next Week: Like an Albatross, Taking Off.
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Remember, don’t ever be afraid to start something new or pursue your dreams. My goal is to encourage you to live a life of your choosing, find the strength you have inside you, and to use your gifts to add to the wonder of this world.