This week I had a meeting with a potential freelance client over lunch. (Actually this would be my first freelance client whom I work with directly, instead of offering my services via a web designer who was already engaged by the client.)
While I could probably attribute a number of mis-steps to nerves or shifting around the schedule making me lose focus, I’d rather take it on the chin and learn from the things I got wrong. What follows is a list of things I realized I should have done better/at all.
- Personal business card and/or contact info
Funny story, I actually wanted to get these created years ago. Looking into local design options for personal business cards is how I met Jenny Poon from eeko studio initially, and the serendipidous series of connections I made from that minor effort on my part had led to some of my favorite people and best times in Phoenix. Staying on topic, though, I never nailed down what I wanted the business cards to “communicate” for me, so I never actually had them made, and thereby did not have anything to hand the client during the meeting. This may be a small thing, but it’s something I figure should be a sign of serious or reliable I am as a service provider.
- Ask them to tell me about their business.
I went entirely off of my perception from what I saw on their website and their writing style, but I’m not sure that I really know what story they would have wanted to tell before I started talking.
- What happens next
I didn’t leave this one completely blank, but in my desire to not sound like a salesman, I ended up just letting things taper off awkwardly, instead of having a clear and agreeable next step in mind.
When I left the meeting, I promised to deliver estimates of how many billable hours would be needed to work on each of the key areas I identified. This is something I really should have put together before I ever showed up, as working on it afterwards required me reviewing a fair bit of the data I had already looked at, and is just flat-out something a professional should have had ready.
- Follow-up email
As much as I roll my eyes when a vendor gives us a horrible pitch and then sends the “I look forward to talk to you again soon” email within the hour, I do applaud their professionalism. If I’m being completely TAGFEE here, I have to admit that not only was my follow-up email woefully undrafted prior to the meeting, I actually didn’t send it until late Friday night, some 30+ hours as the client themselves sent me a follow-up to thank me for the meeting.
The good news is that it looks like this short-comings on my part aren’t total deal-breakers, and the opportunity may still exist. Hopefully this post can serve as a reminder for anyone else just delving into freelance marketing to double-check their preparations.
- Setting your corporate writing rate (sixfigurefreelancer.wordpress.com)
- Is Freelancing Easy? (freelancefolder.com)
- You should NEVER charge an hourly rate (lifehack.org)
- The Dos And Don’ts of Freelancing (community.ally.com)