It finally happened.
You landed your first freelance writing client and you can’t wait to get started. You set the terms and you know the scope of the project – no more than 1500 words for a blog post.
You’re excited because this client is in your writing niche – adult learning – and you know you can provide a lot of awesome information in your piece.
You create an outline, figure out a working headline and start writing. When it’s done, you realize something.
Instead of writing 1500 words, you ended up writing over 2,000 words. What do you do?
What happens when you want to scope creep and the client doesn’t do it to you?
What is a Scope Creep?
For many freelance writers, they do everything possible to avoid a client who’s a scope creep. These types of clients often ask for more work than what you originally planned.
What ends up happening, though, is you don’t know they scope creep until they have been your writing client for a while.
Over time, these writing clients start asking for more and more – and at the same rate you quoted them originally.
And for many new freelance writers, the thought of negotiating a new rate is enough to keep them quiet. So, what ends up happening? That 1500-word blog post is now a 2,500-word blog post, with no new rate and no end in sight.
But, let’s flip the tables here.
What if the freelance writer ends up writing 50% or more over what they originally quoted?
Part of enrolling in my freelance writing course, is the option to join the private Facebook community. This is the place where you can ask questions to me and the group. One of my students had a problem with scope creep on her part:
Elna, and anyone else who has done this, I need your help. I’m finishing up a client project but the word count came out more than my original quote (by 600 extra words). I gave the client an option to keep the extra content or leave it out.
Turns out the client loved the extra words and wants to keep it. But now I’m feeling guilty of adding extra to the final product. Is that considered scope creep on my part??
I’m thinking I should eat the cost. Or I could charge the extra at a discounted rate. This is an awesome repeat client. What would you do?
Do you know what you would do if this happened to you?
Eat the Cost
You eat the cost…at first.
Because, look, this is your fault.
You didn’t pare down your word count and you couldn’t condense what you wanted to say in the allotted word count.
So, to charge the client for your mistake doesn’t sit well with me, nor with my other course participants.
We all agreed that in this case, just eat the cost. But, what’s neat about this scenario is that the client really liked the additional words.
If that happens, you want to casually update your terms for the project. While I do use contracts occasionally, for most of my high-paying clients, an email with the terms has been more than sufficient.
This is my Facebook response to my student’s dilemma,
I agree with everyone, I wouldn’t bill for more words either.
But, you can use this opportunity to see if the client wants more content from you. If the client liked that extra bit, you can ask if they would like for you to continue writing at that word count or not, but that you would just adjust the price to reflect the change.
I would say something like, “(Name), That’s great! I always get excited when I write about (x). For now on do you want me to make X word posts? This would put the cost at X dollars going forward. Or, do you want to stick to the original word count? Let me know! – I’d send something like that!
Based on what the client responds, you can quickly update your contract or send a new email with the new terms.
I Write for the Client, Not the Word Count
Most of my clients give me a range to work within. For example, one client wants posts between 1,000-1,500 words.
Another client wants posts around 550 words.
This gives me room to work within and I don’t worry if I go beyond the word count by 100 or 200 words.
Because I don’t like worrying about trying to stay within my word-count.
Instead of focusing on providing high-quality content with great examples and facts, I become more worried about keeping within the word count.
I start to second guessing myself.
Should I include this example? I think I have to take this out, but it’s a real good fact.
I ultimately write for the client.
When they see the high value they get from my writing, I quickly become their go-to writer.
If you’re a new freelance writer and you landed your ideal client, wouldn’t you do everything possible to keep that client? By providing more than what the client expected, it can turn out to be a huge win for you.
What Would You Do?
So, freelance writers, if you landed a client that was totally awesome and you wrote an epic piece for them that was over the word count, would you eat the cost and then negotiate a new rate, or do nothing?