I turned down an assignment today that wasn’t my area of expertise. Instead, I referred my contact to someone else I knew would do a great job. But it got me thinking, what do clients want from a freelance writer? Here are some things, beyond of course the ability to write:

1.  To know you are an expert in your field. They don’t want you learning on their project; they want you to ace the job because of your experience and talent.

2.  To know you are committed to your business and will be there when they need you. Even if they aren’t regular clients, people like to know that you will be available to take on the occasional project.

3.  To know they can rely on you to deliver the work you promise. Your expertise (see #1) should allow you to turn in a project that’s close to if not exactly what they need.

4.  To be confident you are working on their projects and moving them forward, even when they don’t hear from you. Better yet, they want to hear from you occasionally in between deadlines with reports on how you’re progressing.

5.  That they can rely on you to meet your deadlines. Even better, that you’ll often or even usually be early. And if, for some reason, you won’t be able to meet the deadline, you’ll warn them early and work out an acceptable Plan B.

6.  That in an emergency, you will pull out all the stops/pull a rabbit out of a hat to turn a project around quickly. Preferably, this isn’t the client’s standard request, or you will certainly be within your rights to charge a higher fee or turn down the work.

A track record at meeting these expectations is what earns repeat business and a solid reputation.

What have I missed?