This begets the question, who (and what) exactly is an ‘expert freelancer’? The definition may differ from person to person, but I like to believe that an expert freelancer is one so adept at his work that he or she does not even mind working alone, and can meet every deadline (plus or minus a few hours of course). Just because you’re working from home does not mean that you cannot have creative inputs to give your client; in fact, clients usually love it when we’re proactive. All of this comes from practice and experience. Expertise, is hard work my friends, but I have some tips for freelancers that might help you learn the ropes quicker. Take a look!
Know your strengths
Here is the first of the five tips for freelancers. As a freelancer, you have the freedom to choose projects and the good news is that you can actually work on stuff that is not part of your day job. Again, it does not mean that you can work on things that you are not comfortable with just to earn the extra penny. Clients expect a certain standard, so it is always better that you grow your skill set first and then branch out to freelancing in that domain.
Treat the client’s brief like it’s your Holy Bible
Freelancing translates to not having the luxury of simply walking up to someone and asking for directions on a project. So make the most of the opportunity to ask for a brief and make sure to take it all down in writing – no verbal agreements, please. Read through the brief and make sure you understand every little thing before you begin work. Spending some hours in discussion is better than providing your client with work he’ll never use.
Understand where you fit in
While you’re at it asking for briefs, it is also a good idea to take the time to know your customer’s brand and how you will fit in. Know the overall brand ideology and request for samples from previous projects – this will help you form a list of dos and don’ts that you can employ in creating your own strategy for the brand.
Be honest about deadlines.
The one word I cringe on reading in an e-mail brief is ‘asap’. Everyone wants their work to be done on priority, but it is your job to be real about deadlines and set honest expectations with your clients. Don’t take on work you cannot do, and be very clear about what you can deliver when. Also, taking on a pressing project and then doing a shoddy job of it – absolute no no!
Don’t discriminate between clients
A lot of the people you work with will probably not be repeat customers. But hopefully, you’ll never treat them as less vis a vis your established clients. A job well done will bring its own rewards – in cash, as well as in kind. Network, increase your customer base, ask happy clients to refer you to their circle, and treat each project on its own merit. Remember in freelancing, out of sight is never out of mind!
Always ask for feedback
Feedback is important and helps you grow as as ‘lancer. You can ask for feedback on your work, on how you interact with clients, and everything else related to your work. Make sure to ask for constant feedback during the project, as well as after so that you know how your work impacted the brand. This will help you immensely in the future, plus it is a good addition to your portfolio. Even though it appears last, it is one of the most important tips for freelancers.
Apart from these tips for freelancers, it is important to be proactive and interact wisely with your potential clients. Follow up, ask questions when needed, ask for advice if stuck, and mostly have fun while you’re doing what you enjoy most. Happy freelancing, maties!