What would you do?

August 7, 2020

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Three freelance work scenarios put to the Content Club UK community

Back in February, a few weeks before the world went mad, I hosted my second ever Content Club UK chat. Hosted on Twitter, the theme of the chat was ‘What would you do?’

Three fairly common work-related scenarios were put to the CCUK community, the hope being that by sharing tips and advice of how each of us would deal with the situation, we’d be better prepared in the future should these kind of things happen. Or have ideas on how best to deal with it if at a loss.

#ContentClubUK: a collective of content industry creatives with a wealth of IRL experience

If you’re not familiar with #ContentClubUK it’s a Twitter chat. Despite the name creatives from around the world gather for 30 minutes on a Tuesday and answer three questions chosen by that week’s host. There’s a different host each week.   

Here are the scenarios I put to the hive mind of CCUK and the advice, tips and wisdom they share on dealing with difficult work situations.

Scenario #1: Clients who ghost

‘Ghosting’ is the act of stopping a relationship suddenly, without warning or explanation. Reports of clients ghosting content creators are pretty common so the first scenario I put to the community was this…

You’ve signed a new client, been briefed and there’s good rapport on email. You complete the first draft, submit it and then crickets. They’ve ghosted! What action do you take and at what point do you give up on them?

What-would-you-do-scenario-1

 

Andre is direct and straight to the point. No messing. No surrender!


For others, there’s a time period of between two and five days to leave it and then follow up.

 

 

 



I really like Masooma’s point about taking a quick look at someone’s social media accounts. As you know, when you’re running a business the hours in your day can quickly vanish. There’s a lot to fit in. It might simply be they have too much on at the moment. Clients may even have personal stuff happening that we don’t need to be privy to. While I’m not saying it’s OK that you’re ignored, I think it’s worth remembering that other stuff may be going on so a bit of patience is no bad thing.

 

 Taking an upfront payment helps stop ghosting

 

 Quite a few CCUKers suggest taking 50% of the payment upfront as a way to deter people from ghosting.

You could always try another method of contact?

A lot of responses talk about when to send follow up emails, but Dominic makes a really good point in his answer.

 

Some clients have inbox overload, so finding another way to communicate could be what your client needs to avoid the temptation of ghosting. It’s always good at the start of a project to ask your client their preferred method of contact, as picking up the phone or responding to a text or Whatsapp message may be the quicker and easier way to get hold of them.

 

Scenario 2: Dealing with extra feedback

The next ‘what would you do?’ scenario was all about how to handle extra thoughts and comments from people you weren’t expecting, perhaps because your client wanted a second opinion from a colleague, friend or their mum.

Turns out your client has a mate who does the same worky-skill thing as you. They showed their mate your work and now they’re “sharing a few extra thoughts.” How do you deal?

What-would-you-do-freelance-situation-2

Masooma is fairly diplomatic, being willing to listen but also firm that this isn’t the normal process.


Dave makes a great point that it should be clear from the project start who is responsible for feedback and sign off.

It’s important not to take offence

As creatives, we can be pretty sensitive when it comes to feedback. Especially when it comes out of the blue, from a source we’re not expecting. A lot of the community had great advice on how to cope in a way that saves your feelings and gets what’s best for the client.

As Ed and others say, outside perspective can be helpful.

Avoid this completely. Walk your client through your thinking

I bang on a lot about how important it is for us creatives to get a thorough brief because we’re not mind readers. It’s worth remembering that neither are our clients. Nor are they privy to some of the technical bits and pieces we do to make sure they get the content that’s going to work best for them. What Julia suggests here is golden.

By sending a few notes, comment or a short Loom video with your first draft you can walk your client through your thinking. You can let them know why you used repetition there or why you added a line break here. If you can justify why you’ve done it the way you have, you’re less likely to face push back. Or it gives the client a chance to understand your reasons so they can give you better feedback if something still isn’t sitting quite right with them.
If you’ve not heard about Loom before, head here.

Scenario 3: Morals or money?

In the final scenario I asked the CCUKers to think about how they’d deal with leads from industries they perhaps don’t agree with personally.

It’s been a tough few months. Work has been scarce. You finally get a lead but it’s an industry you’re not morally comfortable with. What do you do?

What-would-you-do-freelance-situation-3

For some it’s a hard no.

Others understand the moral dilemma and that the opportunity to turn work down at all means you’re in a privileged position, which is important to remember.

And sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. And remember, it doesn’t have to be forever.

Katie’s yin and yang thinking in her response really stood out.

So, what would you do?

Fancy having a go at answering these three scenarios? You can leave your comments below, or add them to the threads on Twitter. By answering them you could help another creative freelancer who’s currently in one of these situations and needs a helping hand on how best to deal with it.

Join in with #ContentClubUK

It’s a really friendly bunch of people who gather each week for Content Club UK. And everyone is welcome. You don’t have to be in the UK.

All you need is:

  • A twitter account
  • Half an hour of time
  • Be online at 11am GMT (Depending on time of year that’s 8pm or 9pm AEST if you’re in Queensland)
  • BYO cuppa tea, coffee, beer or wine.

Would be great to see you there.

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