From our experience listening to your gut is essential.
There have been times in the past that we’ve ignored our intuition about a particular job or client, only to find out later that they’re as nutty as a fruit cake, impossible to please, and that therapy – not copy – is what they need.
Thankfully, these clients are few and far between, but when they contact you, you just “know”.
These are the people that leave you with a niggly, uncomfortable feeling, but rather than listening to the warning, you rationalise your way straight into massive problems.
Just recently we were asked to quote for a decent sized job. Everything about the project looked like a good fit. On paper, it ticked all the “By Jingo” boxes.
- And Creativity
But because we’ve been around the block with this kind of thing before, we managed to follow our sixth sense and let the person know that it wasn’t going to work.
It’s a difficult thing to do, to say “no” to work, but sometimes by saying “no” you’re saying “yes” to something much better. We’ve learnt that now.
It’s only taken us a few years, and some hard experiences.
If you want to learn from our mistakes, here are some clues and cues to look out for:
- Lack of Clarity: The client has no idea what their brand is about, and they aren’t willing to put in the time, energy and effort to find out.
- Lack of Flexibility: The client has too much of an idea of what their brand is about. They’re super rigid. They’ve got their “niche” all figured out. There’s no room to move, breath, question, challenge.
- Lack of Objectivity: The client is so emotionally invested in their brand that they don’t know where they end and the business begins. It’s all about “them” and not really about their target market.
- Children & Pets: The client wants a child or a pet to be the centre of their brand. There are legitimate exceptions to this – say if the product is for children or pets.
- The Scribe: They think they can do your job better, but don’t have the “time” to write it themselves. Someone who hires a copywriter already believing that they could do your job, spells massive trouble in the long run.
- Expectations: The client has unrealistic expectations of what copy can do. Perhaps their business isn’t doing so well, but instead of examining the many different reasons why this might be so, they think that copy will be the silver bullet that will fix everything. Copy can do a lot but it isn’t Astro Boy! Its powers are limited.
- Cost: This client doesn’t like to pay. Typically these are the people that make all sorts of vague promises about future work and ongoing referrals, but sure enough, if you don’t play by their rules with the quote. Crickets. Just like everyone else, copywriters have mortgages to pay, children to feed, and alcohol to buy.
Saying all that, and here’s where the sixth sense comes back in again, you may have an enquiry from someone who doesn’t fit any of the categories described above, but for some reason, you just feel uneasy about it.
If you’re tuned in to yourself, your feelings and the world around you – trust that. You may save yourself a world of grief.
Have you had similar experiences? Even in a different industry, or in life in general?
We’d love to hear about how your intuition has served you, or how by ignoring it, you got yourself into a pickle.