I love my work, and that shows in its quality and my straight-A grades in my graduate program at Georgetown University here in Washington, DC. It also displays my significant experience and understanding of my client’s audiences and brands and the long-term relationships I tend to form with them.
As such, like many established corporate communications consultants who offer strategic content writers and journalism services, I get presented with as many opportunities to work without appropriate compensation as to work for proper consideration. I also get requests to engage in professional activities that are not entirely ethical or that don’t fit my business model.
I think it’s important to address these challenges directly so prospective clients understand how we can work best together. I also know that in a highly litigious society, if a business owner doesn’t make some policies clear in advance, they face legal or other issues. I’d like to avoid that so here’s where I do.
Like most experienced corporate communications consultants, I don’t work with everybody.
I’ve learned after over two decades working as a consultant, that providing this information in advance about how I don’t work or what I don’t offer is as important as telling prospective clients what I offer and how I work. It’s particularly useful information for specific potential clients to know.
That includes those with limited monetary resources or little experience working with experienced professional consultants. Also included are recruiters looking to fill certain types of positions and those who prefer or expect to pay their consultants beyond 30 days after work completion, especially without prior agreement.
For the most part, I either apply to or pitch the sites or clients to whom I wish to offer services based on my understanding of their work and our potential mutual fit as professionals. Those are thriving—high growth or established—businesses, blogs or top national media outlets.
Nonetheless, I’m also entirely open to prospective clients reaching out to me with appropriate opportunities for someone with my experience. In fact, that happens frequently.
But, just as frequently, because of shifts in the economy, globalization or changes in expectations of how independent contractors should be willing to work, I get offers for work I won’t consider.
I want to help you determine if I’m a fit for your projects or organization before you reach out. So, here are some projects in which I won’t participate, services I don’t offer at all and guidelines about how I provide the services I do:
- I only work with those with high ethical standards. I’m not open to any work that would compromise my journalistic integrity, and business ethics or that might ruin my hard-earned name, reputation or award-winning status.
- I don’t double dip. That means clients can’t pay me to accept paid assignments to write favorable “stories” about them, their product or services under my byline for publications that pay me to write real industry stories.
- I’m not open to full-time employment or on-site contract work at any salary or fee. As I have most of my professional life, I love being an independent consultant and have no wish to change my work status.
- I’m not open to any commissioned sales job. I write about insurance, but I don’t want to be an insurance sales agent so refrain from emailing me about such roles. Also, do not offer me “mystery shopper” gigs because I write about upscale…anything. I’ll turn down all MLM offers instantly.
- I’ve earned the right to top fees. Because of the significant professional experience I have and the excellent skills I’ve worked to both develop and substantially improve over the last 20 years, I do not offer low-budget content writing services.
- I don’t race to the bottom. I am not available to bid on projects that pay (literally) cents on the dollar to the lowest bidder.
- I’m not interested in “dues-paying” opportunities. I’m highly experienced and have made a living from my writing for over 20 years. This website full of copy, editorial content and clips provide clear evidence of my skills and experience. So, I am not looking to write “for exposure,” on spec, for a revenue share, as barter or on any other non-retainer or non-competitive hourly fee basis.
- I don’t accept offers to drive traffic to other sites without compensation. I will use outbound links to content I cite in a blog post because that’s just the right thing to do. But, no matter how significant and well-recognized your brand is, I won’t accept your request to link your content to my blog posts (to drive traffic from my site to yours). I’m open to reasonable offers to write similar content for your brand if it’s in one of the wealthy industry sectors where I have domain experience.
- I select my own volunteer opportunities based on my values and personal and business goals. I’ve loved volunteering but I now only volunteer to work for nonprofits through organizations that provide volunteer professionals to nonprofit organizations or through one of my college alma mater or graduate school organizations. I don’t accept direct requests to do such work. The same goes for political organizations, campaigns or causes. I reserve the right to decline those requests.
- I truly trust God but everybody else must show ability and willingness to pay my fees with a history that backs that up. Since accepting post-paid work is an extension of credit, I don’t offer credit to most clients unknown to me. I only extend credit to major media organizations and high-traffic blogs; recognized and reputable trade associations or trade publications; thriving content brands, content marketing platforms or editorial agencies. All have a reputation for paying on-time and within a reasonable period after I complete their assignment or project (and I have several ways to check). I accept all other projects on a pre-paid or retainer basis only.
- If you want to “pick my brain” about something you’re doing, I’ll happily send you an invoice for those services. I offer a competitive hourly rate, payable in advance, for a minimum of two hours of consulting services. That includes writer training, content or social media strategy advice and editorial services, like content, website or manuscript reviews.
- I don’t provide unpaid proposals, project briefs or lengthy statements of work. I will submit to your organization or firm a non-binding quote, over the phone or by email outlining my fees for services. I only do that for prospective clients with whom I’ve had at least two phone conferences. Please see the “The Thrive Business Engagement Process” page for more details.
- My initial phone consultations are informational, only; I provide no strategic advice on them. I also don’t quote fees on those calls. Please see my blog for complimentary strategic assistance and see the “The Thrive Business Engagement Process” page for more details about my price quoting process.
- I don’t offer my services without a formal contract. For some clients, an email agreement suffices, but I accept those at my discretion.
- Like you, I only work with firms that have been properly vetted by me. These businesses must not only be guided by an active code of ethics and operate honestly but must provide the latest strategies and best practices in digital communications.
- I don’t say yes to all work I’m oferred. Because I’ve experienced harassment amd bullying in the past for not taking work, please be clear that I reserve the right to decline any business opportunity at any time for any reason without explanation. I only will say “no, thank you” and fully expect that to be the end of the discussion.
I only work with those thriving enterprises where there’s a mutual fit and the work can be successful.
My clients expect the best from me. Organizations that work with me are looking to create exceptional content experiences that deliver high value to their usually financially and professionally successful, well-educated, c-suite executive or clients or their affluent, savvy consumer audiences.
Similarly, your audiences not only have a tremendous level of sophistication, but they are also discerning and have equally great expectations of your brand, blog or publication.
They will be able to tell that you did not invest in the best content or strategic communications consulting on their behalf, and your brand or publication may lose their trust.
Thus, I’m best suited to contract with highly-respected corporations, marketing agencies, high-growth small and mid-size companies, and publishers with established, positive reputations. These organizations have experience with retaining experienced, professional communications marketing and strategic content writing talent and compensating them accordingly.
I hope I’ve helped you understand whether we can work together and look forward to hearing from those with whom I can be a mutually beneficial fit.
(Please remember I reserve the right to decline any project of any type for any reason at any time without any explanation.)