Here are my commandments that I stand by when working with new and old clients. Please keep in mind I have developed these over the years from personal experience, but hope you get some pointers out of reading this post.
1. Educating your Client
If your client has not worked with a freelancer before (figure this out simply by asking if they have or not) they may not know what to expect. Educating them by simply guiding them through steps of a project, dates they should expect content and what you expect of them.
This simple process may help avoid communication mishaps, misunderstandings and can help the project run smoothly.
2. Working with Family & Friends
This is always a touchy subject. No doubt I have had plenty of family members come to me with projects they need help with or even just ‘simple tasks’. In this case I generally make a judgement call. If it is for charity or personal reasons I do not charge, where as if it is for business purposes I will charge (it’s business right?).
Again this is a hard topic to tackle and can become a little awkward if handled incorrectly, but if the rules are set down and you have given yourself guidelines to follow it is really not that hard to abide by them. Although still try to steer clear from it as much as possible as it can take up a lot of time.
Having a mutual understanding and respect of each other on both ends is a great start. Understanding what they do, their duties and objectives are can give you great perspective on what they are trying to achieve with the project.
If you find your client doesn’t respect you and what you do, there is a huge red flag waving in front of your face. You may want to consider not working with them — it will save you time and money in the long run, trust me.
4. Sharing Information
I have always found sharing information leads to great opportunity. It is a form of showing you are grateful to be working with your client but also gives them value to be working with you.
Wether it be the latest development in the industry that they can benefit from or just something you came across that you would like to share. Information is always a great way to further your relationships and gain trust.
5. Communication is King
We are in the communication business after all, and communicating effectively while being on the same page is always key to the success of any project. Above that be open and honest, although; I’m not telling you to share your deepest and darkest secrets but, it is always good to have a trustworthy partnership with any client, long or short term.
If there is something you are weary of in the process of a project, just be upfront, ask questions and you will find a lot of respect comes out of it. Always keep in mind everyone is human — you and I and our clients will always make mistakes wether we all admit it or not.
6. Be Prefessional
Above all, be professional. Last thing a client needs is a freelancer that’s gone MIA, or taking deadlines loosely. This goes hand in hand with a lot of the above topics, and you will gain respect and a good reputation if you handle every project as professionally as possible.
With all of this said — please consider this:
Sometimes you will just have a bad client and that’s that. They have set out to screw you over with no intention of paying you to begin with. They just want to see how far you will get with them. And you — the person trying to build a relationship with them is scratching your head over what you did wrong. When in the long run you didn’t do anything wrong they are just; pardon my French, but sh*te clients.
And if they eventually pay you, then come back a few months later, you may just have to tell them your schedule is full. But above all still maintain your composure and be professional. These people are the ones you want to avoid and I will be sharing in a later post on how to determine the good clients from the bad.
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