One question I get from almost every new client is “how does this work?” So here is a general overview the process I usually follow.
Step 1—Determining the Scope of the Project
Because I charge a set fee for most projects, I need to make sure I understand exactly what is expected with the work. I will send you a form and I will ask you as many questions as I can think of before I send you a final proposal. Here is just a smattering of what I’ll want to know before we get started.
- What is the copy for? A website? Brochure? Newsletter? Press release? White paper?
- How many pages of copy are needed?
- What types of pages are needed? Home page? About page? Services page?
- How much content have you prepared yourself?
- What do you want in terms of length?
If you are looking for search engine optimized copy, we’ll talk in-depth about your competitors, your potential customers, and your chosen keywords.
We can go over these questions via email or over the phone (or Skype); if you are local to Denver, we can get together in person.
Step 2—Writing Up a Proposal or Quotation
If your project is a small, simple one, I’ll send you a quotation. If it’s more complicated, I’ll send along a proposal that outlines the details of the job, including project specifics and comprehensive pricing. I will price out the services I am offering and list them so you can pick and choose, where appropriate.
Step 3—Agreeing on the Details
Once we have come to an agreement on what the project will entail, I require a 50 percent down payment. This is non-negotiable. For projects that are below $500, I require 100 percent payment up front. I accept checks and PayPal (as well as credit cards via PayPal)—or you can simply drop off a suitcase full of cash!
For recurring projects, such as weekly or monthly blogging or newsletters, we can talk about a billing cycle that works for both of us.
All payments must be made in US dollars.
Step 4—Determining the Timing
I am often booked in advance, so the quicker we can come to an agreement and you sign off on the proposal and send in your payment, the better—and the sooner we can get started. If you have a small project, don’t hesitate to ask me about that, even if you think I’m busy. I can usually fit in small projects, even if I am otherwise booked.
I will stick to my initial delivery date, but turnaround times beyond that will depend on a number of factors, including approval times and the amount of material being produced. I will do my best to stick to your deadlines—and I am pretty fast worker!
Step 5—Getting Started
At this point, I am ready to roll up my proverbial sleeves and get the show on the road. I will probably have some additional questions for you at this time. For example:
- Who is your target audience?
- What does your audience want? What do they need?
- What is your brand’s personality?
- What else do you want me to know about your business?
I’ll also need to get the signed proposal, your up-front deposit, and any background materials before I can jump in and get started. Usually a phone call or Skype meeting is a good idea at this point.
I will supply everything to you in electronic format, and I will use Microsoft Word primarily. For website content, I’ll first send it to you in Word, although I can upload it directly to your WordPress site once everything has been approved. I like to use the “track changes” option for queries and changes as we move through the stages of the project. For emails and newsletters, I am most accustomed to MailChimp and Constant Contact. I also know my way around the Adobe Creative Suite, as well as PowerPoint and Excel.
Step 6—Making Changes
As mentioned previously, two rounds of changes are included with your project. Generally, a few back-and-forths with a Word document and the track changes and comments options are adequate. However, we can schedule a phone discussion if absolutely necessary.
When we start the project, we’ll go over what might be a reasonable time for you to review content. It’s your project, so you get to set the schedule. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to review everything thoroughly.
Step 7—Finalizing the Project
When the job is complete to the satisfaction of all involved, I’ll send you an invoice for the final amount. Invoices are due upon receipt, unless other arrangements have been discussed. Everyone should be happy about the outcome—especially you!—so I’ll ask you for a testimonial that I can include on my website.