Freelancing as a creative service provider can be a very tough gig. It takes years to build a name for yourself and in generating repeat business you can count on to make a living. However there are four VERY important tips I would like to share with you that will GREATLY improve your chances of being successful as a freelancer.
1. Get the work done and get it done on time.
If you are provided with the opportunity to do work for a client or as a contractor for another firm, then you should do everything in your ability to ensure you get your work done and do it on time! The biggest mistake I see freelancers make is not hitting these objectives. We all have situations that could keep us from getting work done. We get sick, have emergencies, or just need to defuse for a bit. It’s understandable. I am very forgiving in these situations – and I’ve had amazing clients who have been flexible for me – but it’s critical that fulfill your obligations on time.
2. Be great at communication.
Poor communication is the second biggest mistake I see in the freelance world. It is absolutely essential that you communicate clearly and effectively with clients or contractors. This means you need to be sure to stay in close contact with the people you are doing the work for. Keeping your clients informed on your progress is and should be expected. Let them know if you run into any unforeseen issues and be sure to ask as many questions as needed to help you do your work. One way to foster great communication is telling people they can call you instead of relying on email, which can fail at times.
3. Do your best work.
Don’t be a perfectionist and take forever, but always strive to do work that you can be proud of. I’ve reviewed many freelance designers portfolios and it pays to showcase great projects. If your portfolio is lackluster, then you will be hard pressed to close on projects or retain well paying clients. There are times where you are starting out and may not have the best items to showcase, but always be making the effort to up your game.
4. Be honest. Always!
I appreciate honesty and so do clients. There are times where you may want to tell the client what they want to hear or you make a mistake and want to cover it up. Always shoot it straight. If you miss a deadline, don’t make excuses. If what the client asks for will hurt their success, tell them professionally. If you don’t have the skills or knowledge to do the project properly, be upfront about it. We’ve heard that “honesty is the best policy” and I believe this is mandatory for freelancers who want to build a long-term, sustainable business.