Often, the world of freelance work is seen through the eyes of the freelancer. Projects are seen as things to be described through the lenses of time spent, research done, and creativity utilized. And, as always the needs of the client are at the forefront of any good freelancer’s mind.
Unfortunately, misunderstandings happen. Less than professional freelancers do exist. Projects on occasion do get messed up. If you’re searching for someone to do freelance work for you, there are a number of things that you- as the client- can do to help minimize the chances of your project becoming a great big mess.
Tip # 1 Know What You Want
One of the biggest potential pitfalls that I see in working with clients is when the client has no idea of what they want. Whenever I hear phrases like “I need some new content for my website” or “I have some ideas- can you help me write a book?” or “I need a few blog posts- can you help?” I tend to cringe. First, because I know if I take this client on, I’m going to have to spend about a third of my time talking with them to try to figure out exactly what they are looking for.
This is a time that would be much better spent working with the client to expand existing ideas, getting clarification, doing research, and writing. So what’s the solution? The easiest one perhaps is to go into your initial meeting with the freelancer with at least a general idea of what you want- and the more specifics you have, the better. If you’re looking for content for your website, know at least the subject area you’d want to address. If you’re looking for a book to be ghostwritten, have at least a detailed outline for the freelancer to work from. The more specific you are about what you want, the more satisfied with the outcome you will be.
Often freelancers are expected to be at the clients disposal- answering questions, adjusting to changes in the schedule, and completely work in a timely fashion. That’s just the nature of freelance work. However, it is extremely important that the client shows the freelancer the same courtesy. After all, questions and the need for clarification do arise. In order to help the keep the process efficient, make sure you maintain a professional relationship with your freelancer. Return phone calls and emails in a timely manner. Answer the questions asked, and get clarification if needed. If corresponding by email change the subject line when the gist of the subject changes.
Tip # 3: Pay on Time or Early
I believe I can speak for all freelancers on this one. Paying on time or even early help encourage a good working relationship with a freelancer. This is our livelihood, and if payment for services rendered is not provided in a timely fashion, we have every right to move on.
Tip #4: Keep Projects Separate
By the very nature of freelance work, there is the potential to work very sensitive information. While most freelancers don’t have a problem keeping projects for various clients, things can become a little dicier when a client accidentally gives more information on other projects. What happens if there is confidential information, or if the freelancer learns about activities that might have legal ramifications? By making sure you only share information that is designated for that project and nothing else, you can help eliminate the risks of potential conflicts.
In order to give you the client what you want you need to let us know when we are doing something wrong. Believe it or not, we are not mind readers. It doesn’t matter how small the annoyance is- please tell your freelancer what you want to change. Any freelancer worth your time will discuss the problem with you professionally, and make clarifications or corrections as needed.
Tip #6 Be Decisive
If you want to maintain a good relationship with your freelancer it is imperative- and I do mean imperative- to make decisions and stick with them. You are the client, after all, the buck stops with you if you will pardon the cliche. As a general rule, I allow for a set number of free revisions of my work. After that, I start charging a percentage of the total cost of the project- sometimes as much as 30%. Why do I do this? Two basic reasons. First, it encourages my client to read through the material carefully and consider carefully the changes that he or she wants to make. Second, it discourages the idea of never-ending revisions, which appear to be a favorite of some clients out there.
These are some simple ways that you as the client can help build a lasting and very productive relationship with your freelancer. Remember, getting the product that you want depends not only on the skill and professionalism of the freelancer, but also on you as well.
© 2014 – 2017, Laura Seeber. All rights reserved.