“I’m looking for something… Sweet.”
The willing grocer stands attentive to the man in the middle of the produce section.
“Absolutely!” Says the grocer, and hands the man a banana.
After one bite, the man tosses the banana to the floor. “No, no, like a tangy sweet.”
“Not a problem, I know just the thing.” The grocer finds a grapefruit, peels a slice for the man, and hands it to him. The man only eats half before discarding it.
“Hmm, I was thinking of something smaller.”
The eager grocer finds a fresh bundle of tart grapes, and passes a handful to the man. After chewing for a few seconds, the man spits it out. “Ugh, I’ll be back in a moment.” He says, as he leaves the store.
After awhile, the man returns. “I talked it over with my friends, they have some experience with fruit. We decided the grapes were too small.”
“Not a problem” says the grocer. He continues to hand the man new pieces of fruit, an apple, a pear, a slice of fine pineapple, all spit out and all rejected. Finally, he hands the man an orange.
“Perfect!” The man says, after eating the orange slice. “This will do.”
Seeing that oranges cost $.75, the man hands the grocer 3 quarters and leaves.
The grocer begins cleaning up the piles of half eaten fruit on the floor of his shop.
The above story may seem ridiculous, but in the realm of freelance, it’s all too common. Clients have vague expectations, ask for countless revisions, and allow multiple opinions to seep into the work before giving their approval. All the while, you’ve charged $1,000 and are doing $10,000 of work.
Where’s the solution to all this? Surely it’s awkward to ask for more from a client toward the end of a project. You’ve offered revisions, but now it feels like you’ve done the work 10x over, far past the point of being reasonable.
The solution doesn’t come at the end. It all starts with your initial conversation.
It all starts with your policy.
Here’s the problem: Your client is asking for revisions because you’ve offered them, or you’ve never explicitly said that you don’t revise work.
Here’s the solution: You need to have your client’s trust and a defined policy.
It may seem like a necessary evil to offer revisions. After all, no one gets a client’s vision right on the first try, right?
If you’ve established yourself as someone the client can trust, this will never be a problem. In the same way you wouldn’t question the decisions of an auto mechanic, surgeon, or electrician. Your client should trust you from the beginning to deliver the RIGHT work.
Is the right work based off of their vision, though? A subjective, ever changing, ethereal swirl of opinion and perceived needs? On the contrary, this project is based on the needs of their audience, as established by you and your client in your initial conversation.
Instead of leaving room for revisions and ambiguous terms for what the final work is, you will deliver the work your client trusts you as the professional to produce.
For more on revisions: How To Handle Client Revision Requests Like a Pro