Q4: What do you do when you need time, help?

By , November 9, 2009

Here’s answer #4 of 12 Questions I think are important for commercial writers to know. I think these questions are especially important for people newly striking out on their own.


I know, you probably thought there would be this long, drawn out explanation with a sophisticated magical formula for executing the act of securing an extension and assistance. Well, there’s no need.

More Information

Often I start out with more information than I will need. Still, if I have a question, or need more information, I can generally get what I need especially if it helps me meet deadlines. If you have a need, don’t hesitate, make the request. The sooner you get what you need, the safer you’ll be for meeting that target finish date.


The last thing I want to do is delay a client. I’ve lost sleep to meet my deadlines. I missed one deadline a few years ago, and the awful feeling is really motivation forever, to stick to my deadlines. I don’t miss often, and I never miss deadlines easily. If you must ask for an extension, do it and make it a good reason. It’s just good business to be on time.

What Helps

Get a detailed picture of the project from your client before you get started on the work. They and you need to know what to expect as much as possible.

Understanding the details of the project or the particular stage of the project is half the initial work. It’s critical to know your resources, know your limitations. I need to have the tools to do the job, or know that I can get them. What I can’t do I will say, immediately.

For example, writing a brochure and designing though very closely related don’t go together for me. So, when asked, I tell clients I don’t design but I know who does. Believe me, your clients will appreciate you for it.


By the way, you don’t need to make referrals. If you know someone really though, it may benefit everyone, your client, the designer and you. Understand that designing is an important and potentially expensive investment. If you don’t really know the designer and their work, you may not want to say a name. Whether you vouch for them or not, you’ll be the person your client thinks of when things go south.

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