Contrary to popular belief, a freelancer isn’t just someone who works from home in their pyjamas. Professional freelancers are consultants in their own field, be it graphic design, web development, copywriting, photography, or any other field of expertise.
I’ve been freelancing full-time as a copywriter for the last two years. During this time, I’ve dealt with all kinds of clients. Nice clients, challenging clients, some who enhance my creative process, and some whom I wouldn’t touch (again) with a ten foot pole.
What they all need most, more than just well-written copy, is a different perspective. An unbiased recommendation of what the message should be, and the most effective way to communicate it to the target audience.
I’ve had clients who genuinely appreciate my objective assessments and recommendations, and I’ve also had clients who don’t. My rule of thumb for copywriting is simple: put myself in the reader’s shoes. But the view from there can be somewhat different from where the client is standing.
I’ve been fortunate enough to collaborate with seasoned freelancers in different creative fields, and I’ve noticed that those who take their craft seriously will do it right. They won’t be afraid of suggesting a better way of doing something, even if it might be drastically different from the client’s brief.
Why is this important for your business?
It’s often difficult to see things from the public’s perspective when you’ve been working on the product or service for what feels like forever. I’ve been guilty of this myself when coming up with ideas for personal projects. What I think is a good idea might not be perceived the same way by others. The reason is simple: being too attached to an idea or project tends to limit our perspectives.
Professional freelancers who’ve worked with a wide portfolio of clients and businesses will have a wealth of experience to dip into. They’ll be able to provide recommendations based on the best practices of other clients.
There’s no obligation for a freelancer to agree with your direction. You’re not their employer. They’re far more likely to be honest with you than an employee who’s afraid of being in your bad books by questioning your decisions.
Just because every Tom, Dick and Harry does something a certain way doesn’t mean that you should too. Professional freelancers will assess your business goals and resources, and propose ideas that make the most sense for you.
Keeping an open mind is a critical part of the creative process (for both client and freelancer). It’s when we collaborate openly and consider different perspectives, that ideas can thrive and grow. The freelancer’s views might not always be relevant, but exploring alternatives openly and objectively is infinitely better than the “it’s-always-been-done-this-way” directive.
Without change, there can’t be growth (and this applies to whichever side of the fence you’re on).