The 10 Commandments of Client Relationships for Freelance Writers

Client Relationships for Freelance Copywriters

The following is a chapter from my first book in the The Lunch Hour Master Class Series(TM)–The Quick Start Guide to Making a (GREAT) Living as a Freelance Copywriter: The Information You Need to Get Up and Earning FAST!


Establishing a client relationship is only the first step. Building it and maintaining it over time is where the real work–and rewards–come in. How do you do that? Follow the 10 Commandments of Client Relationships. Now, to be clear, they did NOT come down on stone tablets from a mountaintop. But they are things I’ve learned over the years that have helped me build lasting relationships with clients who are good for my business and good for my soul:

  1. Really take the time to get to know your clients business. Study it. Fall in love with it. Ask for a factory tour. Ask to meet with their customers. Get to know it better than anyone else–including your client.
  1. Develop a very clear understanding of what your client is looking for. Ask for a creative brief that includes project objectives, messaging points, must haves, etc. And it needs to be signed off on by client. Also, be sure you fully understand what you’re being asked to deliver. If you don’t–ASK.
  1. Find out how success of the project will be defined–and by whom. Will it be defined by a specific person? If so, will you have access to that person? Will be defined by a committee? If so, what’s the process for that? In order to achieve success, you need to know what it looks like from your client’s perspective.
  1. Be sure to manage a client’s expectations from Day 1. Be clear about what you can do, when you can deliver, how many rounds of changes, your rates, etc. By doing so, everybody knows what to expect from each other—and that can avoid a lot of frustration in the long run.
  1. Get your fee agreement in writing. This helps protect both you and your client. They know how much they’ll be paying and you know what’s expected in return for your fee.
  1. Present your work with confidence–and in person whenever possible. Don’t be apologetic about it. If you don’t feel like your copy is great–then don’t present it. Only present your best work that provides the best solution. Remember–YOU are the champion of your work. So present it confidently. Doesn’t mean client will always love it or that changes won’t be needed. But it can go a long way in helping clients have confidence in you and your work.
  1. Don’t get defensive when clients ask for changes. As long as changes are reasonable–make them. If directions are shifted–you might need to renegotiate your fee.
  1. Deliver what you promise when you promise. No excuses. Don’t make your problems your client’s problems. Find a way to deliver.
  1. Be easy to work with. This goes far in terms of getting repeat work. If you’re talented, listen well, and are easy to work with—you’ll get called back for more work over and over.
  1. Always be providing value. Help clients think about things in a different way. Do simple things, like sharing articles of interest with them without asking for work. They’ll begin to see you not just as someone they’re outsourcing work to–but as a valued partner.

Want to learn more about how to become a freelance copywriter? Great! Here are two things you can do right now:

  1. (Shameless Plug #1): Purchase The Quick Start Guide to Making a (GREAT) Living as a Freelance Copywriter: The Information You Need to Get Up and Earning FAST! on Amazon.
  2. (Shameless Plug #2): Join us over at The Page Turner Mission and pick up your free copy of The 5-Minute Copywriting Class