Your manager is a headache, your job is tedious, and your income is nowhere near what you desire it to be. Do these statements ring true for you? Let your manager adjust to life without you! Is it time for you to be your own boss? Are you ready to start your own career as a freelancer?
BUT WAIT! Ask yourself, “Do I really want to be a freelancer?” Are you ready to face the problems? Is this your cup of tea? Ask yourself all these questions. If your answer is YES than keep reading this article. If the answer is NO don’t waste your time.
By the way, if you are a lucky or a very hard-working person and have already managed to find your first client, then your main goal is not to blow it with your client. All right? So let’s begin…
1. Respect Your Client
First of all, learn to recognize your client’s personality, hear his words, and understand his purpose. If you see that your client is poorly versed in the subject you are a pro in, do not try to “divorce” his money by criticizing his vision. Sooner or later they will realize that they’re off track and they’ll (hopefully) adjust course. It’s not your job to make his business prosper (not yet at least). Be sure, in this case, to honor your relationship with the customer by completing the work. Be prepared to explain to the client the essence of your work, the stages of its implementation, and how the money the client spends on your services is helping the project. Have a clear price list for all the work that the client sees, so that he can appreciate your investment of time in the project and his financial investment in your service, instead of feeling that he’s being “milked”.
2. Respond to Emails Quickly, Even if the Answer Seems Pointless
Never forget that the customer has hired you because he doesn’t have the time or knowledge to perform the task himself. In other words, they need you, and if they cannot contact you, their anxiety increases exponentially. Imagine that you ask the client to pay the bill, but their answer comes in late and is ambiguous. Unpleasant. My point? Even if you don’t have time to pen a long response, at least make an effort communicate frequently with your client.
Customers regard the lack of response to email as a manifestation of a freelancer’s laziness
Yes, at times it might seem quite excessive, but you should understand that customers regard the lack of response to email as a manifestation of a freelancer’s laziness. Be a true professional – let customers know that they are cared for. It will benefit your reputation and future workflow.
3. Remain Active in Your Communication With the Client
If you told the client that the job will start the 20th, then when the 20th comes, let the client know that the project is underway. Often, freelancers write to clients only when there are problems, or when the project is already progressing toward completion. Most customers prefer to be invested in all stages of the process. And almost all hate to stay “in the dark”; they want to see the development of the project as it progresses. Therefore, be proactive in this matter. Keep your client up to date, and you’ll see that the confidence your customers place in you and your work is growing.
4. Be Meticulous
When it comes to graphic design, discuss every detail, even the obvious, with your client. The sky is blue, grass is green, etc. You may say, in vain, “this is ridiculous,” until, after months of work, your client will say they wanted gray clouds and brown grass. It won’t be a laughing matter then. And making changes early-on during the project lifecycle requires far less time compared to when the project is at a much more advanced stage. Put your client first. Listen to them, and ensure that they are completely satisfied with the work you provide at every intersection and milestone.
5. Don’t Shy Away From Talking on the Phone
Why are you laughing? It is one of the difficulties that freelancers face.
Many freelancers are nervous from getting a call from their client. After all, why can’t things be discussed oniline and resolved by e-mail? Well, first of all, some customers (especially older ones) prefer phone, not e-mail. Secondly, any controversial or unclear point is always easier to resolve over the phone. Third, voice communication may bring people together and even socializing will improve. Remember, communication is the cornerstone of the relationship between customers and remote workers. So always be ready to pick up the phone, if necessary.
6. Don’t Start Working Until You’re Clear About the Project Scope and Payment Details
You’ve found a great project that promises you a lot of money and fascinating work. At first, the client seems amazing and promises to pay on time, but might suddenly disappears with your work. Have you already faced such a problem? To prevent these sorts of issues you should consider prepayment of milestones and/or using specialized escrow services on freelance sites.
7. Continue Working Every Day
The advice is obvious; constant work is at the heart of everything. If you fall a month or more behind your typical working rhythm, regaining efficient momentum will be very difficult. This is especially true of technical skills, which are very dynamic. Freelancing allows you to make your own schedule, so you can always combine your personal affairs, travel, and holidays with your work. It might be more challenging, for example, to take a long vacation when you are a freelancer; because after coming back you may have to spend time winning new clients. Always be open for business and have something new in the cache.
Despite the fact that learning how to handle your first few clients can be a challenge, the freelance rhythm of work is often a great option; less so for some and more so for others. And if you decide you want to give it a shot – try following these pointers and your chances of establishing an initial successful client base might just set the stage for rest of your freelance career.