So You Think You Can Freelance Part 3: Questions for Potential Clients
Ok, so, you have a call coming up with a potential client. You'll want to cover your bases and a) make sure you're a good fit to work together b) have a good idea of the project and your role c) align all those super fun logistics that make things go smoothly. Here are a couple topics and questions to cover in your first couple of calls with a new client. Maybe don't spit them all out at once, but these can be a guideline for figuring out if and how you can work together.
What should I ask a client to figure out if we'd mesh well together?
Before we even get to the specific project at hand, let's figure out if you want to work with these folks. In your initial chat, jot down the answers to these questions. I'm just going to write these from the perspective of you (freelancer) talking to a potential client.
- Who is involved in this project already (hosts/production folks/miscellaneous team members)? What are they like? (See if you can meet them soon if you'll be working closely with them).
- What are your goals for the podcast, generally? Is this part of a business plan or a hobby project?
- Have you ever produced or been a guest on a podcast before? What did you/didn't you like about the experience? What do you think you could do better?
- What are your favorite podcasts and what do you like about them?
- (If the client is an organization) What is the mission of the organization? What values do you stand for?
- What are you looking for in an editor/producer/(fill in the blank)?
- What do you anticipate will be your strengths in this project? Where do you think you'll need the most help?
How do I know if a project is the right fit?
Now, let's zoom in a little and see if this specific podcast will be a good fit for you. You don't need answers to all of these right off the bat, but they can guide you as you plan the podcast.
- Who is your audience and what value is the podcast going to provide for your listeners?
- How do you plan on recording episodes? Remote or in-person? In COVID-19-era, if recording in person, how will we make sure the recording process is safe for everyone? Where would we record? Otherwise, what will you use for remote recordings?
- Do you have a microphone/what gear do you currently have? How comfortable are you using it? What do you know about audio/recording?
- What will be the episode format? Are you planning on having guests? How many hosts will you have?
- What kinds of topics will you cover? In general, what type of podcast are you trying to make? (Comedic? News? Audio Fiction? Are you trying to bring awareness to a certain issue?)
- How long will a season be? Do you have an idea of the episode structure (segments, intro/outro, etc.)? How about the arc of the season? Where do you want to begin and end?
- What assets do you already have/where are you in the process right now? (Do you have intro music, scripts, anything recorded already? Basically, what could you send me today?)
- Do you have a release date set? How often do you want to release episodes? How long do you expect episodes to be?
How do I make the most of my role and do a good job?
- How much time do you need to review episodes before release? (It's honestly so important to make deadlines and expectations clear on the front end.)
- What feedback do you want (or not want) from me?
- How often/when can we check in and see how things are going? (You might want to set up a recurring call just to let them know where you're at).
- How would you like to communicate and track progress? i.e. slack channels, trello, e-mail, WhatsApp, truly anything...
- Do you have a branding guide or a handbook that could give me a good idea of what we're going for in terms of production? (This will hopefully give you a gist of where to start if you need to source intro music, or it'll give you a larger picture to compare the finished product with. E.g. if someone's branding guide says they're all about creating a supportive environment, maybe keep an ear out for when something seems to conflict with that message)
You might notice I didn't put anything about pay here... you'll want to have a good sense of what your client is asking for in terms of effort, equipment, and deadlines before you consider your rate. Still, have it in the back of your head through these conversations and, again, know your worth.