Copywriting Codex: Don’t Negotiate Like This…Or Why I Left a Client Behind

How’s it going? I know that as far as relating my client experiences (which is part of the subscribe box on the right over there), I’ve been slacking off a tad. I’d like to do more of that today (relating, not slacking).

And to be fair, this wasn’t a Codex until right before I finished it. I just couldn’t see how this post could apply to fiction writers (unless you want to characterize me some way or other).

Let’s get to it.

I had to break up with a client.

This is interesting to me, because this is the first time I ever had to do that actively. What I mean by that is a lot of the time, I don’t get past the trial period and clients leave me behind, or they just quasi leave me behind because I don’t hear from them and get silence when I follow up (or don’t follow up in the first place–bad practice, I know–but there are times I have second thoughts about them).

Anyway, this client specialized in a type of copy that I wanted to learn. So as a result of that, thinking I needed the money, or what-have-ya, I made a bunch of mistakes. If I get to thinking some more, I could probably come up with more, but here are the bigger ones:

Ditching upfront payment and agreeing to be paid at the end of every month

Not capping free revisions/edits at 2 or 3 per project, and charging extra for others–this led to disaster, needless anger, and to me ultimately burning out, I think

Not realizing I could still be in control of the process even though I was working with (not for) someone else (I could have brought up these points, for example)

Agreeing to treat a trial project as the trial, instead of one to three months, and then re-evaluating after that

Saying I’d be available for six months, without putting restrictions on it

Working for too little per project because I was just starting this particular kind of project, and not negotiating for bumps in pay for performance bonuses or great results for this client’s clients

If that wasn’t enough, I also ignored several warning signs along the way that told me I should have gotten out sooner:

Client allowed their client to request more than 4 revisions on the same project–if the client was allowing their clients to do this, I should have know they’d do the same types of things to me…but I didn’t put my foot down

Client told me I scheduled “too long” of a block of time off for vacation (about a week and a half), even though I wasn’t taking days off every other week or something like that

Client proposed a retainer, learned about my fees for other services, discovered the proposed fee wouldn’t cover the amount of work suggested, then withdrew the idea, and  repeatedly refused bids for other add-on services, claiming they were too expensive (if I hadn’t had this step and seen what the client’s fees to their own clients were, I never would have been pushed to get out, ultimately)

Well, that’s about it. And the most painful part about all this is that 99% of the fault here can be parked in my own lap.

Maybe that’s the biggest takeaway of all.

Until next time,

Ty

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About Ty Mall

Thanks for stopping by. I've almost always been interested in writing, among other things. Along with discovering pop culture, I've uncovered a lot about the craft over the past 10 years. And whether you're a fiction writer or email copywriter, I'm here to pass on what I've found out. And have a ton of fun in the process.
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