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Every Freelance Copywriter Needs To Install Their Very Own Bat Phone
Optional Description: Once you become busy as a freelance copywriter, you can't afford to answer the phone every time it rings. And if you're not yet loaded with projects, you'd be better to pretend you are. Otherwise, copywriting prospects may think you are desperate for work, and talk you down in your fees. At the same time it's important to have open communication with those clients who are paying you money to write copy. Here's my unique solution gleaned from too much time as a child, watching Batman. -- I recently installed a "Bat Phone." Remember the old campy Adam West Batman series? Whenever Commissioner Gordon called, a red phone in Wayne Manor's library would start flashing. Alfred would come along, pick it up, and say in that servile English-butler voice, "Yes?... One moment, please." Then he'd go grab Bruce who'd be doing something heroic like teaching Dick how to bake no-fat brownies. They both race to the phone to find out which felon had broken out of Gotham City's Prison. To the bat poles! Well, I have two paying copywriting clients who sometimes need to get hold of me ASAP. Often three or four times a week. I've not only been writing copy for their businesses but guiding their marketing. At the same time I don't want to have to pick up the phone every time it rings -- for anybody. It just becomes too disruptive. I don't even want to have to go and check the call display. Either my wife or my assistant can handle enquiries. Simply put, I don't want to talk to anybody who isn't paying me money for my time and expertise. I'm also finished with free consultations. Works for some copywriters, doesn't work for me. So, I called up the phone company and asked if they could activate an Ident-A-Call number. That way, when one of my copywriting clients calls, the ringer will sound different and I'd know it's them. The neat thing was that my area code just introduced a new three digit prefix. I was one of the first phone numbers to use it, allowing me to select the last four digits myself. Well, going with the Bat Phone theme, I thought (298) 398-BATP would be easy for my clients to remember. I almost went through with it, until I read it out to the telecom lady... "Is B-A-T-P available?" Silence. "Bat pee?" she asked. No, that won't work. Call 398-Bat-Pee! I ended up settling with (298) 398-HELP* which isn't as original, but easy enough to remember. (*That's not the real number, of course. I'm not revealing the Bat Number in a public email). Anyway, my clients are glad I got it (as well as my wife) as I tend to only check email and voicemail only once a day. It makes them feel that they are getting their money's worth and raises my perceived value at the same time. I'd encourage any copywriter to do the same... or to erect some other barrier around you and your time. If you don't respect it, nobody will. Let 'em suck up your time and they'll suck up the dollars you could have been earning with it.