Being polite might seem like an inconvenience, but it goes a long way towards being seen as professional.
As an author, freelancer, or small business, you are your brand. How you treat others reflects on you, your service, or your product.
When you treat others rudely, you show a lack of respect and it can be quite hurtful. Some also hold grudges.
5. Talking Trash
This should be the most obvious. If you didn’t like the service or product you should let the person know first.
I’m obviously not against airing my disappointment with a brand online or in person, but there’s a difference between not being happy and being treated badly.
Not being happy with something you paid for is unfortunate but something that needs to be negotiated with the provider first.
4. Negative Negotiation
I have been told, “Your stuff is good for someone who doesn’t do it professionally” as a lead up to asking me to lower my prices. I let the client know that after twenty years of experience in being paid to do layout, I’d consider myself a professional. (Yes, my first paid projects were when I was 15-16.)
It’s a common technique to compare products or say things like, “My cousin could do this for free” or “I can do it myself” in order to try and get a discount.
Stop doing it. If you want a professional then they will cost.
That being said there are plenty of other ways to negotiate. For example, if I do more than one job for a product I’ll give a discount. (Eg. Ebook =150; Print = 150; but Print + Ebook is 250)
3. Being Antagonistic
Things happen during a project. Things could not be clear and something isn’t what you wanted. Talk to the person and work it through. Don’t be snarky, most likely they didn’t do it on purpose. A type or misalignment or wrong flavour, etc… Just talk to them and they’ll fix it.
2. Not saying Thank You
There’s no need to send a gift basket or anything grand. Just a small email saying thank you for your work. That’s classy and makes everyone happy.
In the past I’ve worked on a project for a client, then they asked me to clear time or give a quote for further related projects. I waited and never heard back from them. Then I saw on social media that they’d gone with someone else.
I don’t care that they went with someone else, but it would have been nice for them to let me know. I could have supplied the source files for the first project and I would have wished them luck. Since they switched after the first in a series of projects, without telling me, it shows a great lack of professional respect.
If you ask for a quote and decide to go in another direction, let the person know. Or let them know you’re asking others for quotes in the first email.
Any of these things can be rude, thoughtless, or just annoying. They are all unprofessional and in some cases will make a Freelancer or Small Business not work with you in the future.
Is there anything I missed? What do you think?