Author Archives: knenn11

SO YOU WANNA BE A WRITER…STEP 9: KNOW WHEN TO FIRE A CLIENT (AND HOW)

You’re trying to grow your freelance business. You’ve been taking every writing job that comes along just to get experience and put money in your bank account. You’re feeling fortunate to have cobbled together enough writing jobs to pay the bills and start a portfolio.

But…

There’s this one job that you hate. (Maybe hate is a strong word—but it might be close.) You were grateful when you landed the opportunity, but things have gone south since you started. Maybe the subject doesn’t interest you. Or maybe the customer grates on your nerves. For whatever reason, you simply don’t want to work with that client any more.

What should you do? In the midst of trying to make it as a writer, is there ever a time to say no to a job? Is it ever ok to “fire” a client? Will you be considered a quitter if you give up on this project?

In Step 4, I covered when it’s ok to “just say no” to taking a job, but this situation is different. You’ve been working with the client for a while, but you don’t have any desire to continue that relationship.

I have good news for you: Yes, there is a time when you can say “enough.” If you’ve been following these steps to develop your business, you should be in a position that you can let go of that dreaded job.

No, this isn’t a free pass to just quit as soon as a project or a client becomes challenging. But I believe there are legitimate reasons to move on from a particular opportunity. Here are four:

1. When the work doesn’t meet your goals

Keep in mind why you started down this unconventional path in the first place. Was it for flexibility? An excitement for the craft? The freedom of being your own boss? Maybe you wanted to become a world-renowned cat blogger.

Whatever they are, examine your motivations and the goals you’ve set for yourself and your writing. Then, take a good look at the job in question. Does it meet these goals? Or at least move you toward them? If it’s taking you in the wrong direction, it might be time to turn around.

Several years ago, I was working with a resume company. I was receiving steady assignments, and they were happy with my work. I could have gotten more jobs from them if I wanted them. The problem: The work involved setting up multiple appointments with the people who were requesting resumes—and they often didn’t keep those appointments. I found myself arranging entire days around phone calls to gather information or review a completed resume, and the people didn’t bother to show up for our meetings.

This might not bother you as much as it did me. But when I looked at this situation, I realized this job was not meeting my goal of working a flexible schedule. I was missing out on doing other things because I was tied to a lot of set appointment times—that weren’t even being honored. I felt like I was wasting time, and the work had become more frustrating than rewarding. The result: I quit that job.

2. When the client doesn’t communicate

I’m familiar with the old adage that the customer is always right, but I don’t believe that fairy tale. Good service is important, but there are lines clients can cross. If they do, it’s time to part ways.

Communication is one of those lines. Remember when I discussed the importance of being responsive to clients? It’s important for clients to have that same quality, too (at least to some extent). If you’re unable to get clear direction from a client, if they won’t get back to you if you have questions, if they expect you to meet deadlines without providing the information you need – this communication breakdown makes it impossible to do your job.

Case in point: You have a client who is extremely hard to reach via phone. That’s fine – you can simply email. But the client’s emails are abrupt and unclear. They rarely answer the questions you asked in your previous email. Many times, the client doesn’t respond at all, leaving you waiting and wondering if they want you to start the next article or not.

I experienced this scenario. I finally decided it was not worth the hassle and let the client know via email that I would no longer be able to work with him. I knew I had made the right call when I received an email from him three weeks later, asking if I was ready to start the next article.

3. When the money doesn’t arrive

There are times when you’re just starting out as a writer that you might feel like a starving artist. This doesn’t mean you have to work for free. If a client doesn’t pay, don’t keep cranking out the content.

This might sound obvious, but it can be all too easy to work and work and never get paid. They tell you the check is in the mail. They’re consistently late with payment. You never know when the money might hit your account.

This isn’t acceptable, even for a newbie. Set certain parameters for payment, then stick to them. It’s ok to charge a fee for late payment, and it’s ok to refuse to do any more work until the account is current. That’s just good business sense. If a client gets offended that you actually expect to be paid for your work, is that really someone you want to rely on for your paycheck?

Of course, this requires clear expectations. Set these at the start of your working relationship. How will they make payments and when? Include due dates and other payment terms on your invoices (and communicate them with your clients when you first establish your rates).

All of my invoices include this note at the bottom: Payments received after 30 days of invoice date are subject to a $15.00 late fee.

Yes, I have waived this fee a couple of times when a long-standing client was late with payment (and I knew it was on its way). The goal isn’t to set strict boundaries that give you an excuse to quit if someone crosses the line. The point is to protect yourself and the client by presenting clear expectations, then sticking to them.

4. When the bank account allows it 

I realize it’s one thing to believe it’s time to quit, and quite another to pull the trigger. There are times when you simply can’t. Even if you don’t like the job. Even if the client drives you crazy.

If they are paying their bills and sending you steady work, you might look at your budget and realize that it’s not wise to quit this job. This is particularly important if others, such as a spouse or children, are relying on your income, too.

In this situation, your best bet is to try to stick it out while you continue to pursue other opportunities. In other words, don’t quit until you have something to replace it. Develop a plan to replace the income first, then you’ll be free to move on (without missing a mortgage payment).

When It’s Time to Say Goodbye

If you decide a job falls into one of the categories above, it’s important to take appropriate next steps. While it might be tempting to simply text an “I quit” GIF, followed by a , I don’t recommend it.

Instead, try these steps:

Finish the current job. If at all possible, finish the current project. Whatever you are working on for them, complete it (unless your reason is #3). This ends things on a more positive note, rather than leaving the client high and dry without someone to finish their project. You’ve committed to it, so finish it. Afterwards, let them know you won’t be able to take on any further projects with them.

Don’t burn bridges. Keep in mind that your reputation is on the line. Even if you no longer want to work with a particular person or business, this doesn’t mean you don’t want them to recommend you to others. If you end things as positively as possible, you can maintain a good relationship that could lead to other opportunities in the future.

Be professional. To avoid burning bridges, part ways professionally. Here’s an example of a professional “I quit” email:

I have accepted new writing opportunities and will no longer be available to write for your blog. Thank you for the opportunity to work with you. I wish you all the best with your business.

Depending on the relationship with the client, you may need to add more details, or you may need to call instead of write, but this is a good starting point for a conversation or email. Keep it simple, positive, and polite.

But what if reason #4 above is preventing you from saying goodbye? If so, it’s time to consider my last step. Watch for:

So you wanna be a writer…Step 10: When the Honeymoon is Over…Persevere

What if I craved Jesus more than sugar?

 

I wonder what my life would look like if I craved Jesus as much as I crave sugar – or even more.

How much more would my desire be for Him?

How much more effort would I make to know Him?

How much more of each day would be focused on Him?

I’d crave Him after every dinner, when the meal doesn’t feel complete without something sweet.

I’d crave Him late at night, when midnight munchies hit.

I’d crave Him at 3 pm, when nothing sounds better than a chocolate chip cookie.

I’d crave Him when I wake, when Fruity Pebbles or a Poptart sound good for breakfast.

I’d crave Him when I watch a movie, when candy and slushie are close at hand.

I’d crave Him when I haven’t eaten in four hours, and it feels like forty.

I’d crave Him after an afternoon of swimming, when a Little Debbie hits the spot.

I’d crave Him on cold winter nights, when a hot cocoa sounds heavenly.

I’d crave Him when I gather with friends, when munching on junk food is always fun.

I’d crave Him when I play a game, when snacking seems like the natural thing to do.

I’d crave Him at the grocery store, when the shelves are stocked with seasonal treats.

I’d crave Him after a long day, when my energy is zapped and I need a rush.

I’d crave Him when I’m having an afternoon slump and want a pick-me-up.

I’d crave Him when I’m lonely and want some companionship.

I’d crave Him when I’m sad and need comfort.

I’d crave Him when I’m hungry,

or tired,

or frustrated,

or happy.

I’d crave Him when nothing else satisfies.

Because…truly…nothing else does.

 


 

‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

 

‘Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Essential Music Publishing, Capitol Christian Music Group

 

The Right Words

As a writer, I’m always trying to find the right words. I guess that’s why the following words hit home. I heard this performed at church this morning and knew right away I wanted to share it with you.

Read these powerful lyrics, then hear them in the Kari Jobe video below.

 

The Word

by Isaac Wimberley

 

If there are words for Him then I don’t have them.

You see my brain has not yet reached the point

where it could form a thought that could

adequately describe the greatness of my God.

And my lungs have not yet developed the ability to

release a breath with enough agility to

breathe out the greatness of His Love.

And my voice,

you see my voice is so inhibited,

restrained by human limits,

that it’s hard to even sing the praise up.

You see, if there are words for Him, then I don’t have them.

My God, His Grace is remarkable,

mercies are innumerable,

strength is impenetrable,

He is honorable, accountable, favorable,

He’s unsearchable, yet knowable,

indefinable, yet approachable,

indescribable, yet personal.

He is beyond comprehension,

further than imagination,

constant through generations,

King of every nation,

but if there are words for Him, then I don’t have them.

You see, my words are few,

and to try and capture the ONE TRUE GOD,

using my vocabulary will never do,

but I use words as an expression,

an expression of worship to a Savior,

a Savior who is both worthy and deserving of my praise,

so I use words.

My heart extols the Lord, blesses His Name forever.

He has won my heart,

captured my mind,

and has bound them both together.

He has defeated me in my rebellion,

conquered me in my sin,

He has welcomed me into His presence,

completely invited me in.

He has made Himself the object of my sight,

flooding me with mercies in the morning,

drowning me with grace in the night,

but if there are words for Him, then I don’t have them.

But what I do have is GOOD NEWS,

for my God knew that man-made words would never do,

for words are just tools that we use to point to the truth.

So He sent His Son Jesus Christ as THE WORD,

Living proof,

He is the image of the invisible God,

the firstborn of all creation,

for by Him all things were created,

giving nothingness, formation.

And by His word He sustains in the power of His name,

for He is before all things and over all things He reigns.

Holy is His name!

So praise Him for His life!

The way He persevered in strife,

the humble son of God

becoming the perfect sacrifice.

Praise Him for His death!

That He willingly stood in our place,

that he lovingly endured the grave,

that He battled our enemy and on the third day rose in victory.

He is everything that was promised.

Praise Him as the risen King.

Life your voice and sing,

for one day He will return for us,

and we will finally be

united with our Savior for eternity! Eternity!

So it’s not just words that I proclaim,

for my words point to THE Word,

and THE Word has a name,

Hope has a name,

Joy has a name,

Peace has a name,

Love has a name,

and that name is Jesus Christ!

Praise. His. Name. Forever!!!

 

What Does This Mean?

I was probably about 12 years old. We were on our way home from church, and my cousin, who was visiting from out of town, had attended the service with us. Her church background was very different from mine, so the question she posed during our car ride home should not have surprised me, but it did. Sitting in the back seat next to me, she asked, “What does THIS mean?” and raised her hand.

Having grown up in a church where hand-raising during worship was a common occurrence, I didn’t understand her confusion. I hadn’t realized that the sight of people with their hands in the air during service was a new experience for her.

I wonder how many others have the same question, but they’ve never asked. Not just children, either. How many adults aren’t really sure what all this hand-raising is about? Maybe you’ve heard of it, seen others in church doing it, or even tried it yourself – but aren’t sure what the point is.

If you’ve ever pondered my cousin’s question, let me try to shed some light on the answer – with some more questions to consider:

  • What does a person look like when they surrender?
  • What do people often do when they are excited about something?
  • If I hold out a gift for you, what must you do to receive it?
  • What do people often do when they experience a victory?
  • What do children do when they want to be held?

Humility. Praise. Celebration. Connection. Surrender. Worship. Excitement. Victory. Adoration.

There are many meanings to this simple act of raising one’s hands. It helps us express a variety of emotions and thoughts in a physical way.

The same is true when we use this posture to communicate with the Lord.

Do you want to surrender to God? Are you celebrating the victory you have in Christ? Do you simply need to be held by your Father? Is your heart filled to the measure with all the fullness of God, and you simply need to do SOMETHING physical to express it?

Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and praise the Lord. Psalm 134:2

Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place. Psalm 28:2

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. 1 Timothy 2:8

My prayer is set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice. Psalm 141:2

I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. Psalm 63:4

 

 

It’s Not a Pie!

Whether it’s a strawberry rhubarb dessert or a deep dish sausage delight, both cause the same problem.

At some point, there’s only one slice left. Everyone sits around the table, trying not to ogle that last piece, trying not to drool, and trying to pretend they want someone else to eat it.

Too often, we view life like that limited pie. There’s only so much to go around, so we better get some while the gettin’s good. And, while pie can be delicious (at least fruit pies are – I’ll take a pass on those custard creations), viewing life like a pie leads to unhealthy thoughts and emotions.

Fear: “There’s not enough! I’m going to miss out!”

Envy: “She got a piece of pie. It should have been mine.”

Selfishness: “There’s only so much to go around, and I’m gonna have my piece, no matter who has to go hungry.”

Gluttony: “I better scarf it all down now, before it’s gone or spoiled.”

Judgment: “He took TWO slices?!? What a pig.”

Most often, we get hung up on the fear and envy pieces. We get so concerned that others have what we want or what we think we deserve. We find that we aren’t able to rejoice with others in their successes. Why? Because we think their success has removed another slice, leaving less for us. If they’re enjoying dessert, we might not get to.

 

 

We’re so off base.

Life. Is. Not. A. Pie.

This is such good news! It’s not a pie!

Then…what is it?

It’s a library.

That’s right – the place with volumes and volumes of texts. Do you know why life is a reader’s haven instead of a baker’s pastry?

It’s because God didn’t bake up one big pie that we all have to share. Instead, He set up a library, where He constantly adds new stories.

We don’t have to worry about a limited amount to go around. If someone else has a success story, we can have one too. Every life is its own book, and this library has limitless shelf space.

As we experience life, we are adding to it, not taking away. 

Once we realize this, we can rest. We can stop the scrambling for that last piece of pie. We can cease the envy and the fear. We can celebrate others’ stories. We can sit back and marvel at all God has done and continues to do.

We can take the focus off the pie and turn our attention to something more important:

What will our story say?

Samaritan

Outstretched fingers beg for what I can spare.

Hurting eyes beg for someone to sit and listen for a while.

Stranded feet beg for assistance on their journey.

A neglected child’s heart begs for attention.

The tired widow’s back begs for support.

Lost souls beg for the truth that would set them free.

 

But…

What if I someday need what I spare?

What if I lack the time to finish my tasks?

What if I feel like a fool?

What if I get used?

Get irritated?

Get embarrassed?

Get lost?

Get rejected?

Get hurt?

What will happen to me if my hand reaches out?

 

Oh, selfish wretch that I am.

My questions – so distorted, so wicked.

“What will happen to me?”

This pondering – so trivial.

The full weight of the decision – fully unbalanced.

My heart needs a shift – a major realignment,

to see the true issue at hand.

 

The crux of the matter is not,

What will happen to me if I do?

But

What will happen to them if I don’t?

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