How to Manage Freelance Client Preferences

While this is coming from the perspective of managing my freelance writing business, the same concepts can easily extend into all sorts of other kinds of businesses. When you have several clients in your portfolio and they all have their own specific preferences, requests, and specifications, how can you keep track of all that information?

The majority of my freelance writing clients choose to use WordPress as the content management system on their respective websites, so this helps from a logistical standpoint; I don’t have to remember the quirks of too many different back-end systems. However, each client is slightly different in how they want their articles, blog posts, and reviews to be written.

Too Much Information

Assignments have different prescribed word counts. Websites are designed to take on images of different sizes. Some clients want links to open in new windows, whereas others want them to open in the same window. Some want to have an AdSense block integrated into the post at the top and others do not. With so many different variations, it’s easy to get bogged down in the details. Does Client A need 500-pixel images or was that Client B?

And let’s not forget about trying to remember innumerable usernames and passwords too.

A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

Up until now, I’ve largely been relying on my own memory for many of these specifications and preferences, but the information overload is certainly daunting. I find myself digging through old email messages to look for these requests, for example.

I also find myself looking through my own archives of previously published material, using an old post as a template for a new one. We all need a refresher sometimes, especially if I had not worked with a certain client for some length of time.

Why Not Just Write It Down?

Moving forward, I’m considering two different strategies, both of which will likely make use of Google Documents. First, I could set up a spreadsheet where I’d have columns with desired word counts, image sizes, and other details that I need to know about writing for each client. Alternatively, I could create a new text document for each individual client and outline the information that way.

There are pros and cons to either approach, but regardless of which I choose, it means that my brain can dedicate itself more to writing better content rather than trying to remember what caption style this client wanted or what specific features need to be included for that other client.

For all the freelancers and other small business owners in the audience, how do you keep track of the little things related to each client? Do you think a single spreadsheet or multiple text documents would be more effective and easier to use?