5 Communication Tips That Will Help You Succeed as a Freelancer
What does it take to be a successful freelancer? Intelligence? Great command of language or communication tips? Diligence? As necessary as these three qualities are, they would avail naught if you didn’t have a single client. You may be exceptional at what you freelance on, be it writing, graphic art; you name it. But it’s the clients who will ultimately decide how successful you become. The more your work leaves clients satisfied, the more your clientele base will expand, and the higher your rate of success in the business.
So it all comes down to one question, and it’s the most important question of all. How do you retain your existing clients-and in the process, acquire more? One word: communication. It’s all about how good the communication between you and your client is, and I don’t just mean the manner in which you talk to each other, albeit that’s still a very important factor.
Communication is intrinsic to success in freelance because it’s what determines how well you’re able to do your job, and it’s what determines how good a rapport you’re bale to establish with clients. Bear in mind that the nature of freelancing means your clients can be of different nationalities and come from everywhere. Many of them might not be able to properly express themselves in any languages you understand, so it’s up to you to make sure such a hurdle is overcome; this and many others.
Don’t worry, it’s not a difficult task. It’s quite simple, really. All you need is dedication and a strong work ethic, and since these are things you should already possess by being a freelancer, you already have half of what you need to succeed; to maintain great communication between you and your client. Follow the simple but important tips below and don’t be surprised when more people suddenly start hiring you.
5 Tips You Cannot Afford to Ignore
- Your Policies Should Be Outlined First and Foremost
After a client secures your services, the next step should be taken by you, and this is a step that must come before anything else. It is imperative you outline your work policies, because that will save both you and your client any troubles that could arise afterwards. And what do I mean by this, exactly?
For one, any expectations your client might have can be addressed before the work is even started. The client will know the most appropriate hours of the day to reach you; he will know if you’re available during the weekends; how often he can expect emails or messages from you; these and much more
These policies are intended to clarify any questions the client might have. Think of it as the FAQ section of your freelance work. It makes communication easier and more effective.
- Make Known Your Preferred Communication Channel
What I mean here is the medium which you prefer being reached through; the fastest and most convenient way you can be reached. Ideally-and as a freelancer, you’re supposed to have numerous means where you can be contacted. Emails are often the most preferred choice, but that’s not say social media and other online outlets are unnecessary, so choose the one that best works for you and is most compatible with your schedule.
If you prefer to be contacted via social media pages, let the client know. If is through the more traditional emails and phones, inform the client. This should be one of the first things you do. The benefit of doing this is clients are able to contact you with ease, either to make enquiries on the progress of the work or any other matter. And you receive everything in a single platform, meaning all your messages can be neatly organized, as against having them haphazardly scattered though many outlets.
The most important thing is you make sure your client knows the only way-or ways-you want to be contacted.
- Always Be the Last to Reply
You should always be the last one to reply messages, their nature notwithstanding. This might seem unimportant at first but when you consider the implications, you’ll understand why it’s important.
When a client sends any number of messages, make certain you are the one who replies last, not the other way round. The mails can be of concerns about the work you are given that need to be assuaged, so reply as promptly and as explicitly as you can. Even if the messages are simply meant to extend courtesy, reply in kind. Acknowledge the words and efforts of your clients. What will doing this achieve?
It shows you value and respect your clients, and you appreciate any input they may have. This will in-turn make them have greater respect for you, and that opens gateways for more opportunities: like you being hired for more work in future and referred to other potential clients.
- Involve Your Clients as Much as You Involve Yourself
This is a very sensible thing to do, and it goes back to my earlier point of how good the rapport between you and your clients is. It can prove a challenge understanding exactly what your client seeks in a jor, especially if language is a barrier between you two. Even if language is not an issue, certain clients can’t express themselves properly enough so you have utter understanding of what they want from you.
The best way to curtail this is to involve your client through every aspect of the work. Ask him to be very explicit. Communicate with him as often as possible concerning the on-going work. This will not just keep you on the right track, but it could very well make the client feel he is an integral part of the work, consequently beefing up that feeling of importance and pride. Their feedback is of utmost importance. That much should be obvious. And feedback will most likely prevent you from having to do unnecessary revisions.
Of course you should consider the possibility that not all clients might want to be so intimately involved with the given work, but there is always that percentage of those who want to be part of it from beginning to end. Always endeavor to take into cognizance each client’s attitude towards being involved in the work.
- Keep Your Clients Updated Every Step of the Way
This differs from the point above because the client doesn’t necessarily have to be involved, but he must be kept informed on the progress of the work, and this is something that should be done as frequently as possible.
The client should be notified of each completed section or phase of the work; before that even, so he knows the pace at which the work is progressing. One benefit of doing this is it presents opportunities to ask questions and get immediate answers, as against dealing with them during revisions.
There’s nothing complex about the above-listed points, but they go a long way in helping you grow and expand your freelance business. Communication is essential to the success of any business, freelance not excluded. Adhering to these five points might not yield immediate results, but you will soon start seeing the benefits when happy and satisfied clients refer you to others. Listen to your clients and let them know their voices have been heard loud and clear, then make certain that’s included in whatever work you’re doing for them.