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After working on three projects that dragged on for much longer than they should have, I reshaped the way I work with clients.

In my experience, there are two major bottlenecks in any brand identity or web project:

  1. Copy
  2. Photography

I have had projects stall for months because I wasn’t taking these factors into proper account—which has seriously hurt the growth of my company.

You see, if you’re looking to run a successful client-based business, it’s important that your client projects 1) actually launch and 2) launch on time. Turnaround time is critical to growth.

It used to be that I would let clients write the content for their website on their own (guided by a detailed content plan that I would create). I thought this was a really good set-up:

  1. One less thing I had to do, one less thing I had to charge for!
  2. The words on their website would be theirs and not mine
  3. Projects would take less time to finish because content could be written while I was doing other things

Makes sense, right?

But as it turns out, making yourself dependent on clients for such project-critical tasks is like a game of Russian roulette, and a project management nightmare.

So on my most recent branding and web project—for Muscular Intelligence, a company that offers professional education for personal trainers—I decided to do things differently.

I required my client to provide photography before I proceeded with the project. Then I brought on a professional copywriter. I hadn’t budgeted for it, so it came out of my margins, but man was it worth it.

After providing the copywriter (Braeden Phillips, whose professionalism and quality of work I was very impressed by) with all the background material, it took less than a week before I had all the copy for the website.

Because the copy was based on the brand strategy I had developed together with the client, I didn’t have to send it back for revisions—it was good enough “as is”.

What in the past has taken weeks at a minimum, but more often months, was over and done with in less than a week. I didn’t have to sit around twiddling my thumbs, or nag on my client to finish his homework.

As a result, the project finished a month ahead of the deadline—despite me working part-time for a whole week during it! A phenomenal experience, both for me and for my client.

So moving forward, I will always make room for copywriting in my project proposals. And, unless I’m working directly with a photographer or videographer, such materials will have to be submitted to me before I get to work.

After all, what client wouldn’t be prepared to pay a little extra in order to finish a month ahead of time, with zero headache?

Such a no-brainer.