Ways of working

September 14, 2021

Hello – lovely to see you here. If you’re reading this, you might be a new client of mine or thinking about booking my services. As everyone works differently and transparency is important to me, I wanted to share a few of my preferences it terms of ways of working. I hope you find it useful to get a bit of a glimpse into how I like to work and why.

What should I call you?

It’s up to you… my full name is Melissa but you can call me Mel if it’s easier. Otherwise, I pretty much answer to anything beginning with M (within reason!). Depending on who you are, you might also know me as Mellie, Malu or Honey (Mel means honey in Portuguese!). Maybe one day I’ll move to the States and go by Missy.

Camera on or off?

If we have a Zoom meeting or online call, it’s up to you whether you have your camera on or off. I prefer my camera off (did you know it’s WAY more environmentally friendly to have voice-only calls? Not to mention that having your camera on significantly adds to Zoom fatigue) but I understand that some clients prefer to be able to see who they’re chatting to. Just let me know your preference.

Bespoke, package pricing

‘What’s your hourly rate?’ is a common question I get from prospective clients. Actually, I don’t charge by the hour. My preference wherever possible is to create bespoke, package prices tailored to your specific requirements. For example, giving you a quote for your 800-word blog post or development of your press release. The length, complexity of work and deadline all inform how much your quote might be.

By quoting a set price, rather than an hourly rate, you’ll know exactly what to budget for my services. This can be much harder with an hourly rate. I’m usually able to give an estimate of how long I think a piece of work might take but this can vary and I don’t think it’s fair for clients to have to pay more if something takes me longer than expected.

For some clients, they do really need a time-based rate. In those instances, I will provide a day rate if necessary. Please note, you would need to book at least half a day of my time to move forward.   

“Can you do a discount?”

I’m often asked if I can offer a discount for organisations that feel my prices are outside their budget. The short answer is no: I don’t discount my prices to meet your budget. However, I do understand that some organisations are working with tight budget and I’m happy to discuss how we could reduce the scope of work to suit their investment.

The more notice the better

Please give me as much of a heads up as possible when you need my support. I have several clients and am often working on various campaigns at once – at the time of writing, I’m fully booked for the next two months.

As such, I can’t promise I’ll be able to accommodate last-minute requests and may charge a ‘rush fee’ for quick turnarounds of under 48 hours. This is still the case for something that you might think is ‘just a quick job’. Aside from the fact those ‘can you just…’ requests often take much longer than you think. Even if it is quick, it doesn’t change the fact that other clients have already booked my services.

The further in advance you’re able to let me know of your requirements, the better I’ll be able to support you. I appreciate your understanding in this.

Working to deadlines

Rather than booking my time for set days, I prefer to agree a deadline for deliverables and get back to clients with the work by an agreed time. This allows me to plan my day in the way that works best for me, which means you’ll ultimately get better results.

Working 9 to 5 (or maybe 10am to 2pm and then 4pm to 8pm)

For me, one of the best things about being freelance is that it allows me to manage my own time. Working in offices for over a decade has taught me that the 9 to 5 just doesn’t work for me. I prefer breaking my working hours into chunks and taking a break when I need. This means I can come back refreshed rather than having to power through when I’m feeling unproductive.

As such, I might not be working during ‘usual’ working hours (I often take a long lunch to go to the gym). On the flip side, I may well be catching up in the evening when you’re not working. Again, this is so I can provide the best possible service for you.

If you’re not happy for me to work at the times I’m most motivated and productive, we might not be a good fit. But if that’s OK with you, it means I can juggle my workload in the way that allows me to produce my very best work for you. Which, I’d say, is a plus.

Booking set days

Please understand that when you book me for a set day or half day, I have to turn away other clients for that time. I’ve, unfortunately, been burned by clients in the past who have confirmed my time for a certain day and then not had the brief ready by that date. This meant I lost out on other work that I’d turned down to ensure I had time for that booking. As such, if you do need to book a specific day of my time, I charge a £100 per day holding fee in advance. If that booking is cancelled without 48 hours’ notice, I’m afraid the fee cannot be refunded. If you do honour the booking, the £100 will be deducted from your invoice.  

Email response

I try to be as responsive as I can on email but please be aware that I have several clients and it might not be possible for me to get back to you right away. If you need an urgent response, please put ‘Urgent’ in the subject line so I know to look at your request right away. Similarly, I sometimes work outside of ‘usual’ hours: if that happens to be at a time that you’re not working, please don’t feel pressured to respond to my email until a time that suits you.

Holidays

From time to time, I need to take some holiday days to recharge my batteries and top up my Vitamin Sea (even freelancers need some time off!). If I am on holiday, I will not be checking my emails and will respond on my return. Rest assured, I always aim to give my clients plenty of notice if I’m planning to take some time away so we can ensure no priorities are missed. However, if you need a quick response or last-minute support during my time off, I’m afraid I won’t be able to accommodate your request (another reason to give me plenty of heads up!). Thank you for your understanding.  

Payment terms

Please note, my payment terms are 30 days. According to the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998, freelancers are entitled to claim a £40 late fee upon non-payment of debts after this time, at which point a new invoice will be submitted with the addition of this fee. If the payment of the revised invoice is not received within a further 14 days, additional interest will be charged to the overdue account at a statutory rate of 8% plus Bank of England base of 0.75%, totalling 8.75%.

Updating my fees

Please be aware that I reserve the right to put up my fees. When I do so, clients will be given at least a month’s notice and will be able to request an end to their contract if the new fee no longer works with them.

Annoying cats

If you’ve had a call with me before, you may already be aware that I have two cats called Dave and Tig. They are absolutely wonderful most of the time. However, they are absolute monsters when I’m on Zoom, especially if it’s a particularly important call. So, apologies in advance for the annoying meows if we’re chatting (spoiler: they get worse close to mealtimes)  

If you’re not sure, please ask

I find it’s much easier to have a productive relationship with clients if we’re both transparent about our needs, expectations and boundaries. If you like to work in a certain way, please do let me know. Chatting through what works for both of us is the best way to find a working relationship that suits us both.

Thanks for reading – I hope you found these insights useful. If there’s anything you’re not sure about, please feel free to ask!

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Melissa is currently available for PR briefs and writing commissions and is happy to discuss how she can support your goals.

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