You may have heard freelance bloggers complaining about PITA clients. These are “pain in the ass” clients, and can be quite a nightmare.
You’re not one of them, though, are you? Or at least you don’t intend to be, right? The problem is there are things that happen during your time with a blogger that can leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth. You may not really be that clear what your blogger for hire is offering you or what you want to get out of your blog.
You may not even realize that your blogger views you as a PITA. Some of the most problematic issues are:
- Expecting hand-holding for every element
- Demanding more than you’re willing to pay
- Not paying bills on time
- Not communicating in a timely manner or answering questions asked
- Skirting around some problematic issues–if you don’t know the answer, just say so!
The good news is you can do things to prevent being a PITA client.
Note: This piece was originally published on July 2, 2014. It’s since been updated on May 8, 2017.
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Accept Communication Is Not Going to Be Instant
Unless you have arranged a Skype meeting or an IM chat, accept that a freelance blogger isn’t going to be able to communicate with you instantly. She won’t always be able to answer emails within five minutes, even if she is working.
Freelance bloggers still need to write articles and blog posts, do the research, and will have other clients and places to write. To help with productivity, I don’t check my emails more than 2-3 times per day. I don’t want to stop in the middle of an article I’m working on to reply to something that I know can wait until I’m finished.
And then overnight I’ll go even longer without checking emails. Once the clock hits 6pm I am done with work for the day and won’t be around until the next morning, unless we’ve arranged to talk.
So, the first rule is to accept communication won’t be instant unless you set up an appointment.
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Discuss All Your Needs Right Away
Let a blogger for hire know everything you would like (or everything you think you would like) right away. Don’t drip feed. And definitely don’t come back with extra requirements after the work is done and expect them for free as a revision.
Chances are if you have new requirements, they would have meant your work would have cost more. Rewriting a full post because you’ve changed the complete scope means a whole new piece needs to be written. So most bloggers will charge extra for that. It is as simple as that.
If you’re not sure what you want, that’s okay. Just let your blogger know that you’re starting from scratch. Ask to organize a call (I offer a free 20 minute discovery call) so you can both talk about your needs and options.
By discussing all your needs, a freelance blogger is more likely to deliver perfectly the first time round.
Pay on Time or as Soon as Possible
Not paying is a trait of a PITA client. Another is paying but doing it late every single time. And not just by a day but by a week or more!
Not paying causes problems for the freelance blogger. It puts their cash flow in a difficult position, and can mean they lose out on a lot of money. Imaine if it was the other way round, and think how you’d feel.
You’d pay your electricity bill on time, right? You’d never pay your credit card statement late, would you? You know the companies will go after you for the money if you didn’t pay. This is another important business expense that you need to treat seriously.
I know freelance bloggers who will offer a discount for loyal, good customers. I know others who will charge a late fee if you do pay even a day late, just like your bank would for not paying fees on time.
Now I know that financial problems can arise. You may have cash flow issues because of a customer or a client you’re working with. Please don’t just not pay. Get in touch right away and discuss your payment issue right away. A PITA client will leave it all to the last minute (or just ignore emails). A good client will be honest and work with the blogger.
Don’t Demand Extra Work Without Paying for It
I can’t tell you all the horror stories I’ve heard of PITA clients. One of the most common horror stories is clients demanding extra work without paying the extra. Or throwing a tantrum because they don’t get what they want or need within their budget.
If you can’t afford a full service, find out what your budget will get. If you want to work with the blogger, find out what they can do with your current budget in mind. You may find that your blogger is more open to negotiating because you treat this part seriously, like a business. You’re respectful of the bloggers’ rates and still clearly want to work with them.
I’m more likely to work with a client who has been polite than someone who fires off angry emails. I will bend over backwards to make a good client feel appreciated and make sure they are happy with the final piece. If I feel threatened by someone, I choose not to work with them.
You don’t want to be a PITA client, do you? Of course not! You want to have a great relationship with your freelance blogger. Follow the tips above, and that’s just what you’ll have!
I’m not saying that clients are all to blame. There are certainly problems with PITA bloggers and I’ll cover that very soon. For now, I just want to help you start your conversations with your potential blogger for hire just right. Don’t be the PITA client your blogger complains about.
Have you heard horror stories of a blogger’s PITA client? Maybe you’ve dealt with PITA customers in the past. Share your stories in the comments below, along with any other advice you’d give.