Do you want to set your business apart from the competition? Of course you do! What sensible freelancer would ever answer “no” to that question?
If you want to set your business apart, then start paying attention to the details. Most of your competitors aren’t. What? You don’t believe me?
Here are four examples that demonstrate how paying attention can make a difference.
Do you know the name of the individuals and organizations that you do business with? Are you sure?
It always amazes me how many of my business contacts get my name wrong. Despite the fact that my name, Laura, is attached to nearly everything that I write I’ve been called everything from Lori to Lara to Lauren.
While I’ll answer to any of the above, I have to admit that I’m more favorably inclined towards those who take the trouble to use my correct name.
Once, in a corporate environment, I had a co-worker with an unfamiliar (at least to me) name. Since I was unsure of the pronunciation I made a point of listening to how he said his name on voice mail until I was sure that I could pronounce his name the same way.
Do you pay attention to the names of your clients? How about your most recent client? Did they have an “Inc.” or “Co.” after their business name? Do you know?
Names are an important detail.
Do you pay attention to your client’s deadlines? A surprising number of freelancers do not.
As someone who has been on both sides of the deadline (the assignee of projects as well as the assigner) I take extra care to meet my deadlines. If I feel that I can’t meet a requested deadline, then I negotiate with the client to adjust the deadline or I turn the project down.
Since I’ve had the experience of managing documentation projects I know that deadlines are there for a reason. When a freelancer or contractor doesn’t meet a deadline it can throw the schedule off for an entire project. Who knows what the impact for your client’s business will be?
Equally important, if you aren’t going to meet a deadline you should notify your client as soon as you know that you will miss it. There’s nothing worse for a client than thinking everything is going according to schedule, only to have a freelancer not turn in their work.
Did you meet your deadline for the last project that you worked on? How about the project before that?
Deadlines are an important detail.
Do you listen to what your client is telling you? I mean, really listen? If you listen closely (or read carefully) when your client communicates, then you may discover that they are expressing preferences that may not immediately be obvious to many other freelancers.
- “I think that our audience is. . .”
- “This should be a short piece. . .”
- “The biggest problem with. . .”
Each of these phrases is a clue about how the client envisions their project. If you have a different vision, then you need to discuss the project with your client until you really understand what it is that they want.
Think back to your last project communication. Were there subtle clues about the client’s vision for the project that you may have missed?
Client requests are an important detail.
Are your skills up to date? Do you take advantage of training opportunities to stay current in your field? Most freelancers either specialize in a technical field or use technology to create or deliver their products and services.
Yet, training is an area that is often overlooked by freelancers because it does not directly produce income. However, the freelancer who regularly overlooks training will soon be overlooked.
When was the last time that you took part in training or learned something new? Can you even remember?
Your skills are an important detail.
There you have it. Four illustrations of how details make a difference, and I’m sure that you could think of more.
Now that you know how important the details are to your freelancing business, what’s stopping you? Go out there and set your business apart from your competition!
About the author: Laura Spencer is a freelance writer from North Central Texas with over 18 years of professional business writing experience. If you liked this post, then you may also enjoy Laura’s blog about her freelance writing experiences, WritingThoughts.