I recently completed a draft for a freelancing job and sent it along to a client for approval. This is a client that usually responds quickly to my e-mail, and after ten minutes of no response, I began to worry that she was composing a scathing critique. Two hours later and I was believing that she was taking the work elsewhere. After six hours, I began to doubt my skill as a writer, and twelve hours after I submitted the piece, the cops were talking me off the ledge to the window in my first story office.
After a week of intense therapy, and a number of raised eyebrows accompanied by “Oh, really” at my mention of being a writer, I sat down at my computer with a handful of Prozac and opened my mailbox. There it was; the mail I was waiting for. Dare I open the note from my client and send my freelance career into another tailspin?
After downing a half a dozen pills, I semi-covered my eyes with one hand as I clicked “open”. Relief flooded me as I read that my client had experienced major computer problems over the last few weeks and was sorry for being AWOL. She went on to say the piece was great and she wanted me to go ahead with another project.
Was all the fretting and worrying I did over the non-response necessary? Maybe not all of it, but I believe that some was warranted, because I write to serve my clients. In the long run, the payoff is greater because empathy plays on even the coldest of hearts.
I also believe that when a client takes me on, I have a responsibility to more than just the writing I am commissioned for. I am representative of my client’s efforts. By thinking like that, I have been able to scare up more work without having to look far and wide. Offering SEO work and additional promotion are only two ways I have helped clients and put a little more cash in my pocket. Think how beautiful that is. The number of drafts and research becomes minimized due to the fact I am already familiar with my client and their needs.
I am a lazy man.
It is no wonder that I worried a bit when I received no immediate response from my client. But, maybe there are ways I can ease my worries in the future. A telephone number for one (gasp), or maybe bury my head in some other project and try to work the worry away. The reality is, I will never put clients too far out of mind; it is how I am wired.
What do you think? Am I too “into” my clients and should only be concerned with the work I’m doing for them? What other avenues can I offer for alternative communication?