Your Career Coach
Hurry Up and Decide Already
I work as a freelance writer and am fortunate to have a very full book of business. My problem is that I’ll often submit a proposal for a project (at the request of the client) and not hear from them for weeks, even months. I’ll check in for a status update, but either I don’t get a response or I get “We’ll have an answer soon.” I end up taking on other projects since I have to make a living and can’t just “hold” time for these clients. What often happens at that point is the client finally ends up calling to say “OK, let’s go!” and, after so much time has passed, my schedule is booked. How can I better manage this – and preferably, prevent it – without disappointing my clients and potentially losing their business in the future?
Seems like there are two things you can do. First, ask “When do you intend to start this project? How firm is that start date?” Second, you could add a paragraph to your proposal that says something like: “The terms of this proposal are valid for 30 days. If you decide to commence work after (a firm date based on what you know), the terms of this proposal may need to be re-evaluated due to time and availability.” Hey, you’re the writer! Write something that says exactly what you want to convey. One way or the other, you need to be in charge of your work – clearly stating your intentions at the outset will go a long way toward getting you there.