One of the most challenging parts of being a freelance or selling any kind of service is dealing with the occasional bad client.
For example, if you are a freelance science writer, it’s not uncommon to hear a prospect reply to a proposal along those lines:
“I can find someone who will be writing this article for five bucks!”
Yeah, and I can find a bloke who'd design a website on Fiverr for five quid.
The website will be shit, but hey, you get what you pay for!
If I could give one piece of advice to any independent science communicator, it’s this:
You want to choose your clients.
Not the other way around.
But how do you do that?
With a good sales page and transparency.
If you make it clear what kind of clients you are looking for, you will automatically exclude those who are not right for you.
The people who want the world on a platter for a penny aren’t the ones you want to work with.
But how can you be transparent?
Here are four things to look at:
Share your pricing
Post your pricing on your website.
It’s like a super effective spam filter.
You don't have to be 100% transparent about your pricing if you're worried it's too high, but you can at least give a 'starting price'.
If a client can't afford your starting price, they usually won't even contact you.
And that’s a good thing!
The time you’re wasting negotiating your price down with these clients is time you’re not spending on finding the right fit for you.
Write your personal manifesto
Most people think that a sales page should be a compelling message, full of hyperbolic words that shine a light on your skills and experience.
A good sales page is honest and, if possible, unique.
Don’t write what everyone else is writing on their website.
Explain clearly why people don’t want to work with you.
“This service is not for you if you’re looking for cheap scientific writing”.
That’s clear enough.
Also share a few words about how you want to work with your clients.
Their expectations might not be what you’re looking for.
A client who wants you in their office on the other side of the continent three times a month may not be the best fit for you if you prefer to work remotely.
Nor is one that wants you to answer the phone in the middle of the night.
Don't compromise your personal values just to get another gig, it won't pay off in the long run.
So, how do you remember your values?
By writing your own personal manifesto.
Your manifesto is your decision-making framework.
It’s your template for which opportunities to take and which to pass on.
It reminds you of your core values, and what you're not willing to compromise for short-term gain.
Best of all, once it’s written, you can share it with the world (this is also another great spam filter).
That’s precious time you’ll save on client acquisition.
If you’re interested in writing your own manifesto, check out this article.
And if you need some inspiration, this is my own manifesto.
Publish a FAQ
I love FAQs.
It’s so convenient to have the most common questions already answered for you before you buy.
And answering objections up front has always been a very effective trick of good copywriting.
So do the same and create your own FAQ.
Cover key points like how your pricing works, your availability, payment options, etc.
If you don’t know where to start, just think about the questions you get the most from your clients.
Collect them and put them on your website.
You’ll never have to think of an answer again when someone asks you the same question.
Such a breath.
Add social proof
The best argument in your favor is a client testimonial.
Make it a point to collect feedback from every one of your clients.
Share the best on your website for everyone to see.
It will show your expertise and increase potential clients’ trust in your service.
Best of all: create case studies.
Describe in detail the projects you ran for your clients, and most importantly, the outcome (with data if possible).
Case studies are great for convincing clients with similar problems to work with you.
If you have done it once, you can certainly do it again for them.
Being transparent will make your life as a freelance science writer easier.
And potential clients who are not a good fit will save time too.
It’s a win-win!
It’s also a small investment of time in the long run.
Write it once, and use it forever.
For an extra dose of inspiration, you can check out my own sales page.