Copley’s Customer Diary #1 – Just not a good fit

Sometimes you get the opportunity to deal with clients who teach you a lot. Although negative feedback can be a sensitive issue to a freelance copywriter, it must be embraced if we are to improve and grow.


Recently, I had dealings with three customers who showed me that my writing was not up to scratch. Of course, I first went through the typical ‘writer’s denial’ before accepting this. Here’s what happened.


Client #1

My first client asked me to write an article as a test. He asked that the writing be conversational in tone. If he was happy, I would get more work. This client had already checked out my profile. This was not a job I applied for—he sought me out.


Feeling chuffed with myself, I set out to deliver a factual, well-researched article. But wait, that wasn’t what he asked for, was it? No; he asked for a CONVERSATIONAL piece. I skipped this instruction and delivered the article—facts and all.


Needless to say, the client thanked me for the work and paid me. But I didn’t hear from him again. Worst of all, the feedback was positive. But the fact that he didn’t come back spoke loud and clear.


Client #2 and #3

In a slightly different situation, I had two clients who needed content written. The one needed blogs, and the other needed web content. After doing these jobs, both did the same thing.


Both clients re-wrote my work! This is not a minor edit—this is a complete rewrite. They stated that the rewrite was the style they wanted. They also added that I was a great writer, but that they wanted me to follow the tone provided.


At first glance, the style seemed less appealing than what I had done. Besides, I’m the one who studied copywriting. Don’t I know what I’m doing?


A question of style

Of course, it’s not really about what I write; it’s about what the client wants. They are paying me to do it THEIR WAY.


In the instance of the one client, I tried my utmost best to write according to his style. He paid me for the job and left me a decent rating with the message, “We just weren’t a good fit.”


I don’t want to make the same mistake with the other client. So I’ve asked him to highlight the sections he feels I should redo. Hopefully I won’t have to work double time on his project.


What can you and I learn from these clients?

First, let me just say that my attitude was wrong with all three of these clients. I was over-confident with the first, lacked confident with the second, and was apprehensive with the third.


So how should a copywriter handle clients like these? Here are my suggestions:

  • Recognize that your style may not be what the client wants and accept it without taking it personally.
  • Be willing to learn a new style. You may get another client in future who wants the same thing.
  • Ask the client for specifics. If they send you their version of the writing as an example, insist that they highlight specifics they want you to change.
  • Once you’ve identified style changes, read up on them and learn how to switch to a different style when needed.


Yes, I’m just a freelance copywriter from South Africa, but I want to grow on an international level. Clients like these help me to do that. How about you?

Butcher Block Counter Tops Care

Those who possess butcher block counter tops in their kitchens are often concerned with how these tops should be properly maintained. While wooden counter tops are designed to handle fairly robust activity, stains and dirt can and do show up—but only if the top is not cared for properly. There are simple methods you can implement into your daily cleaning routine which will provide proper butcher block counter tops care.


What happens to your counter top over time?

Your butcher block counter top is most often used for slicing and chopping food in preparation for a meal. Most of these ingredients are raw when you process them and raw meat—especially raw chicken—can pose a health risk if care is neglected. This is especially true because of cut marks in the wood. Bacteria tend to fall into these tiny little slits and this will eventually result in a bad smell if the wood surface is not properly cleaned. So what are some efficient ways to clean your butcher block counter top?


Don’t make the mistake

It’s important to remember that certain wood care chemicals are off limits to your butcher block counter. That’s because you are dealing with consumables and because most of these chemicals can cause severe health problems if they come into contact with your food or drink. Many chemicals which are not compatible with the wood may even cause further damage—so avoid your home maintenance store for the solution.


Prevention is better than cure

It is essential that you keep your butcher block counter clean at all times. This means wiping it down after every use—and not waiting too long to do so. By continuously cleaning your counter top you will prevent most of the stains and smells that can occur. You will also ensure that, for the most part, it remains relatively hygienic. Continual cleaning is as easy as taking a warm wet cloth and a drop of dish detergent. Give the counter a good wipe and then rinse excess soap off with a dripping-wet cloth.


Minor scratches and stains

However, you cannot protect your counter top from every form of damage or blemish. Wood is simply more susceptible to these elements which is why proper care is extra important. After prolonged use, your counter top will start to show signs of small cuts and faint stains. There may also be an unpleasant smell because of bacteria that has not been cleaned out properly.


Germs can be effectively removed by washing your butcher block counter top with white wine vinegar. Vinegar is a natural sanitizer and will destroy any unhealthy bacteria that might be lurking on your board. For stains, a simple scrub with some lemon juice should remove minor blemishes; and will also leave a pleasant smell behind. By washing your counter top in this sequence, you will effectively sanitize it with the vinegar and fragrance it with the lemon juice. Both of these natural ingredients are of course also perfectly safe to consume.


Serious damage

After years of use, accidents are bound to happen. Wooden counter tops are prone to suffer burns, deep scratches and serious stains. In cases such as these, a major counter top service may be required every two to three years. This maintenance involves sanding the counter top lightly where the damage or stain is visible. Make sure to sand with the grain so as to maintain the integrity of the wood. Once this is done and the damage is no longer visible, treat the wood with warmed up food-grade mineral oil. The wood needs to absorb the oil so leave it for at least half an hour before wiping the residue off with a dry cloth.



Remember to educate all the members of your household on how to prevent serious damage to your wooden counter top. You can now also teach them how to provide proper butcher block counter tops care by following the above prescription. These methods will also work well for portable butcher blocks, but are especially useful for built-in tops which are not washable under running water.


Be sure to enjoy your wooden counter top and continue using it for what it was meant for—preparing fresh, homemade food for you and your family.