Long-term freelancers usually get into freelancing for the freedom and flexibility that it offers and once established, they can afford to be selective with the type of clients they choose to work with. Newer freelancers may not have the luxury of being as selective, but that doesn’t mean they should be prepared to work with just anyone who comes along. If you’ve been a solopreneur for while, you probably have a stellar on-board process that helps you find out all that you need to know about your potential client. Even if you don't have an on-board process yet, all freelancers need to protect themselves when forming new relationships with prospective clients. Here are a few ways freelancers can assess potential clients:
Do Your Research.
Research the company in order to find out how established they are, who their customers are, what their reputation is, who their main competition is, and what makes them special in their niche. You can also check out if they have any unresolved complaints with the Better Business Bureau or if they have a bad reputation on any freelancer forums or sites. Any information you find about late or non-payment problems or if they are having financial difficulties should be taken as a warning. If they are a new company and you are having a hard time finding out information about them, that doesn’t necessarily raise red-flags but you should pay close attention to how they respond during the following steps.
Ask: Have you Worked with Freelancers Before?
How they answer this question will tell you if they are accustomed to the freelancer-client dynamic and if there is potential for a productive collaboration with them. If you have any hesitancy at this point you could ask them to put you in contact with one or more of their former freelancers in order to see how their experience went. In the case that they haven’t worked with many freelancers before, ask them why not and why they decided to outsource this particular project to a freelancer; is it because they are lacking in expertise, personnel, time, or did something else spur their sudden interest in hiring a freelancer? If they are expecting to get high-grade work for a cheap price, they may not be the right fit for you.
In order to produce a great final product for your client, you need to be clear on what the purpose of the project is. Ask the potential client what they envision the end result being and if they can give you any examples of similar work that they like. At this point you must be truthful with yourself and your prospective client whether or not you can meet their expectations or if someone else would be a better fit. It is important that you do not take on more than you are realistically capable of because delivering poor results will give you a poor reputation.
Find the Preferred Method of Communication.
Before you start on the project, you need to know who your main contact at the company will be and what their preferred method of communications is. Do they want to communicate via email, phone, a certain online platform? You also need to establish how often they would like you to check-in or give them progress updates and what expectations they have for response times - both for how quickly can they respond to you and how quickly they expect you to respond to them.
Set the Terms.
At this stage you might be drawing up a proposal to establish the project parameters and ensure both parties are clear on important points such as: Who owns the intellectual rights to this work? Is it possible to put your name on it? What is the deadline for this project? How and when are payments going to be made? Do the clients need to pay anything upfront as a retainer for your services? Don’t ask the client what they will pay you, tell them what you will do for them and what you will charge to do it, whether per deliverable or per hour. You can always negotiate your price if necessary, but you should have your own established rates ready to give clients. Once the terms are established you can present your client with a contract and get to work on their project once signed.
Here at Sagegroupy we wish that all freelancer-client relationships could be smooth and productive, while realizing that it isn’t always the case. Hopefully following these guidelines can help freelancers establish good relationships with new clients, which will keep everyone happy during the first project and begin a fantastic long-term working relatiohsip. If you are a freelancer ready to form relationships with new clients, sign up with the freelancer’s friend today.