Consultative Iterative Process

There are two important facets to consider with regard to my industry-relevant expertise.

The first is how well I know the industry and can understand what my clients are saying so that I can help them present their ideas and arguments in the best possible way. While I am not trained as a financial advisor, I have by this point been through a great deal of material (both reading and writing) and am usually able to understand, and often help augment, whatever message my client is hoping to deliver. In some cases, I act mainly as a scribe, writing down my clients’ thoughts in finished prose form. In other cases, I am given little more than an idea or perhaps some initial research, and I then architect the entire work based mainly on my own knowledge and ideas.

Second, I have developed considerable expertise in taking my clients through the entire process of writing whatever it is they need to have written. As described elsewhere on my Practical Wordsmith website, I have developed a process that time and time again has enabled me to work closely with my clients and ensure that they are more than satisfied with the final outcomes of our work together.

That process starts with a contracting phase during which my client and I make sure we are appropriate for each other. After speaking by phone and establishing a general sense of whether we are a good “fit,” I will typically send writing samples and then a proposed agreement that will cover the work we will be doing. I almost always work on a project basis (not hourly), and build into my agreements a system of milestone payments to ensure the client knows where we are, the quality of the material he or she is receiving, and what our future trajectory looks like.

After the contracting phase, we dive into the actual material in a series of recorded phone calls that I typically have transcribed. Based on this material, I will come up with a Table of Contents. Once that is approved, I will launch into writing the actual column, article, white paper, or book. I believe in an interactive and iterative work flow, that is, getting detailed comments from my clients as we move forward (either through MS Word’s “Track Changes” protocol, or directly taking in feedback and changes by phone) and revising in an ongoing fashion.

When the client agrees the writing phase is complete and signs off on the finished work product, it will then be time to submit to compliance. After compliance comes a final professional proofreading (by an outside proofreading service that has two different readers look at every word, sentence, and punctuation mark). After I integrate the proofreaders’ changes (which sometimes require additional discussions with the advisor), the project will be finished. But even after the project is finished, I continue to offer ongoing support (such as providing revised diagrams or advice on word choice, etc.).