Not if you want to be a successful consultant. I have heard this saying since I was a teenager working in K-Mart and I am sure that you have too. It has been deeply embedded in all of our psyches and both sides would be better off if we forgot it.
Whether they are writing for the web, doing internet marketing, copy-writing or any other service, freelancers are hired for their expertise. Keep in mind that you know more about your area of expertise than your clients, thats why they come to you. If you believe that following their directions would produce an inferior product then you need to speak up. New freelancers have a hard time with that because they want to keep everyone happy. If your client finds out that you let them make a preventable mistake then they will not stay happy very long. You have three choices when a client wants you to do something that you know is a mistake:
- Keep your mouth shut, do exactly what the client says and collect your pay. (Do not expect repeat business with this option)
- Refuse to do the work out of a sense of ethics or artistry. (You will probably die of starvation due to lack of work using this method)
- Explain to the client that they are making a mistake and why. Let them know your reasons for not wanting to do it their way. If they press the issue then do the work but let them know that you are not responsible for the results.(You will go from being the hired help to being a trusted consultant that the client can depend on for quality work.)
Hiring a freelancer is an investment and you need to ensure that you get the most out of the experience. So if you hire an expert, listen to them! If the expert is disagreeing with you then it is a good sign. It means that they care enough not to just except your money for sub-par work and walk away. I am not saying that you should let a freelancer call all the shots because it is important that the client’s input be taken into account but if you knew exactly what to do then why didn’t you do the job yourself?
P.S In case you were wondering, this post was not born from a bad run in with a freelance writing client. I am just constantly amazed at people that hire a specialist and then proceed to ignore everything that the specialist tells them. Seems like a waste of money to me.
Do you agree or disagree? Let me know the answer and any good stories about this topic in the comments.