The hardest part of freelancing isn’t the work – it’s working with the client. Any freelancer will tell you that. Making sure that your client is happy, and also that you get paid the right amount, and on time can be a stressful part of the job for any freelancer.
Your reputation as a freelancer is one of the most important tools in your kit, as referrals and portfolio pieces are what clients really look at when they’re deciding to hire a freelancer. This means that you have to make sure that your clients are happy with your work. Happy clients are more likely to give you referrals – and bring you back to work with them some more.
Ensuring every single client is happy with your work is an impossible task. There are clients who will ask you to do work for free, or give you endless edits, or just won’t be satisfied with your product, no matter how hard you worked at it. But there are ways to make reasonable clients happy. I have four things that I keep in mind when I work with clients. If I can keep these four things in mind when I’m working, I can usually make my clients happy in the end.
Only My Best Work
This may go without saying for most people, but when you work with a client, make sure you’re doing your best work. Delivering a piece with errors to a client is unacceptable. That won’t make them happy, and it certainly won’t give them a favorable impression of you if they have to ask for basic edits instead of stylistic changes.
Whether you’re a graphic designer, writer, editor, or virtual assistant – make sure that the work you’re doing is work of which you can be proud. Your client will be able to tell if you didn’t put in the work you promised. This knowledge may not only reflect in whether they bring you back on to work with them again – it may affect how much they pay you for your work.
Be Prepared for Alterations
Most freelancers I know hate editing pieces for clients. Despite this, they know that it’s a necessary part of working with clients. You have to make sure that the client is happy. If this means changing your work over and over again until your picky client is finally happy, so be it.
“I don’t enjoy asking freelancers for edits,” comments Marc Anidjar, attorney and co-founder of Anidjar & Levine, P. A. “Sometimes they take it badly, refuse to do the work without extra pay, or don’t do it at all. If a freelancer tells me upfront that they’re willing to do edits for me and then turns them around quickly and professionally, it’s a relief on my end. Those are the freelancers I return to when I need more work done.”
Always make it clear that you’re willing to make changes once you’ve turned around the finished result. This makes it easier for your client to ask if they do need changes. And if they don’t, it still creates a professional image of your abilities and your interactions.
Know When To Say No
One of the hardest things I’ve learned is sometimes you need to say no to your clients. If a client asks for too much work, changes the guide after we’ve already agreed on a price, or asks for a complete revamp of the project once it’s supposed to be completed, I often have to force myself to tell them no. There are a lot of clients out there that will want to get the most work out of you while paying you the bare minimum. You cannot allow this to happen to you. Know your skills, know what you’re worth, and don’t be afraid to tell a client no.
This doesn’t always have to be an “I think we’re not a good professional fit” conversation. It can also be a conversation with them. If you tell them you’re willing to do the extra work they’ve asked for, but not for free, you may get them to agree to hire you on again and continue working with them. If they refuse, then you can professionally close your interaction and move on to the next client.