Are you considering accepting a project from a new client? It might be a good idea to research them before starting the job. Think of it this way – if you were going for a job interview you’d find out everything you could about your future employer, right? Researching a client is no different. Since you’re going to work for this individual or organization for the length of a contract, you need to make sure they’re reputable, pleasant to work with and that you will get paid.
Google is naturally your starting point. Run the client’s name into the search line and see what it comes up with. You never know where it could lead you. If you’re working for a company or agency you could do a search for their CEO or top people as well. This will tell you if there have been any issues with any other companies that person has run. It’s amazing how easy it is to find everything you need to know about a person online.
Many companies use Twitter or Facebook to interact with their clients. Make sure that their Twitter feed and Facebook wall aren’t just whole bunch of complaints. You can also learn a lot about how a client is going to interact with you by how they interact with their own clients. And if you’re very lucky you may find a LinkedIn profile full of personal recommendations.
Rapportive is an extension for Chrome and Firefox which transforms your Gmail account into a fantastic source of information. The advertisements on the right hand side of your email are replaced by all of your correspondents’ social media information – a great place to start your research.
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