Newsflash: You’re Going to Fuck Things Up Sometimes

Fuckup

When you’re a total noob freelance writer, it’s nice to hide your total lack of experience behind emails. You can just about wing it via email, right? Because you have time to research stuff and think things through before you reply. But then it happens: YOUR CLIENT WANTS TO TALK ON THE PHONE.

Here are a few things I’ve heard from my students recently:

OMG! I’ve just received a reply from my first e-mail out! Someone wants to talk to talk to me on Skype!! Panic.

Then he started asking me a thousand questions like do I specialise in any particular topics, where are my clients from, do I do any copywriting. Yikes, I came across as a total newbie which of course I am, but I cant help feeling I let myself down.

A potential client asked to talk on the phone – this was one of the first people to message back – and I totally blew it. They asked what areas I focused on (‘everything, really’ – cringe) and whether I was good at some kind of SEO thing I cant remember. My answer to that probably didn’t inspire much confidence either.

And let’s not forget about the time a prospect phoned me and I told him I could write 10 articles in 24 hours — because I wanted him to think I was good — and, weirdly, never heard from him again.

But at some point you’re going to have to deal with this scary thing known as talking-to-clients-with-your-voicebox.

So I’m here to tell you: YOU WILL FUCK UP. In fact, you should expect to. Any time you have to hop on the phone with someone, instead of getting your knickers in a twist (and I just had to Google that to make sure it’s actual phrase we Brits say, because damn it looks weird written down) and panicking about what could go wrong, just remind yourself that this probably won’t be perfect, and maybe you won’t land the client — but you will damn well learn what not to do next time.

Another of my students put it perfectly (nice job, MaryClark!):

Honestly, we need these kind of experiences to learn. I learned so many things from the first client I screwed up with and I continue to learn on the fly. Don’t fret too much. Keep plugging along. Once you get some great clips and recs, I’d reach out to him again.

BUT! Just because you’ve accepted you’re going to fuck up sometimes doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go in prepared. Check out this guest post I wrote over at Be a Freelance Blogger if you want a few rather smashing tips on how to boost your confidence on the phone to clients. YOU’RE WELCOME.

YA LIKE THAT, HUH? SUBSCRIBE ⤸
Twice-monthly emails featuring:

  • My private tales of life and biz
  • Links to my latest blog posts
  • Other good shit from the web
  • Subscriber-only deals
  • Never more than 1 email a week, because fuck that.

    2 Comments

    1. This was one of my first larger freelance jobs – I remember that feeling of immense pride when you just about pull it off over the phone. You confirm that you can deliver within a week. Yep. Sure, you can write about expert networks in the business world. Easy peasy. It feels like what I’d imagine a bank robber feels after a successful heist.

      Then you realise you just agreed to write the entirety of someone’s web content for $75. On the topic of financial consulting. Gulp. Sometimes it’s better to lose those crazy, low-value rush jobs due to inexperience.

      1. Ha, so true! Another fatal flaw of the newbie freelancer: underpricing. Which does, inevitably, lead to jobs that make you want to throw yourself off a cliff because IT’S TAKING SO LONG FOR LITTLE MONEY.

    Comments are closed.