Wednesday, November 26, 2008


One of my biggest frustrations with my freelance writing career is, believe it or not, the only business client I've actually landed. I hooked up with my client through a mutual friend and we've had many meetings to discuss how I can help them.

The scenario goes something like this. They don't have anyone on their staff dedicated to doing marketing or communications, so the partners end up trying to do it on their own. Because they're extremely busy with other types of client development, many of these projects have fallen by the wayside. There are all kinds of things they should have been doing that never got done.

But there's another problem. The partners don't really have time to interact with me, either. So, the situation goes something like this. I have a long conversation with one of the partners (at least I'm only dealing with one at this point) about a project they want done. He is extremely gung ho and excited during the conversation. We end the conversation with me agreeing to do some background work and him agreeing to send me some materials I'll need to complete the project. So, I do my part, send the partner a status update and remind him to send me the materials. Several days go by with no response.

A week or so later, maybe more, I get an e-mail from the partner asking me to call him at a certain time. During the phone call, he starts talking about a different project, which he asks me to make my priority. Nothing seems to happen with the original project.

At this point, I've only completed one actual project. I've also submitted two other small pieces which I ended up gathering all the information for since I never got the materials he was supposed to send. I never heard back on either one of the smaller pieces. It's really confusing because whenever we talk about a project, he acts like it needs to be done right away. There are also outside organizations I know he's supposed to be giving some of these materials to, so we're missing their deadlines.

Further complicating the situation is that the partner is the very good friend of one of my friends, so I don't want to alienate him. Additionally, the company worked with someone who did marketing and communications for them before who scammed them and tried to charge them for a bunch of work he didn't do. Needless to say, they're a little gun shy and I'm trying to be sensitive to that.

It's a frustrating situation, but I don't want to give up on them. For one thing, I really need the money and they have paid me some money. The partner also told me I could start billing them on a biweekly basis for the work I had done, so now, even if I don't complete a project, I can still send them an invoice. Marketing myself to them has already been accomplished. I'm already in the door, I just have to figure out how to get these projects finished while working around this unproductive way of doing things. I also really do believe they want and need this work to be done. I suspect the real barrier is just that they're extremely busy in addition to being disorganized. Next week, I think I'll have a conversation with him and try to set up a schedule and plan of attack. Perhaps if we document things in an organized fashion more will be accomplished.

I'm heading North this afternoon to our cabin. That means no electricity or running water, let alone Internet, so I'll be on hiatus until next week. I wish my legions of readers a happy holiday.

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