Stress and hassle are inevitable if you don’t follow certain protocols for freelancing. Freelancing is doing what you love and make money out of it. But you may soon end up crying about your decision if you don’t follow these protocols while practicing it.
Your ability to define your own path can be a model to others.
– Gary Swart (CEO of UpWork)
Freelancing is a boon to people like us, and in freelancing Time is Money and you can’t afford to lose time in dealing with unnecessary conflicts with clients.
So let’s get started with protocols to follow if you are a professional Freelancer. Read and comment below those protocols which you already follow and which one you think you needed to know before you started freelancing.
Protocols for Freelancing
Always get your Advance Deposit –
Yes, we all have been there where we worked our ass off to complete the project and due to one reason or the other the client decided not to pay you.
People who make cakes or build small treehouse always ask for advance before they start their work as there is resource involved in starting the project.
Similarly for us Time is the resource involved and you don’t need me telling you that in freelancing Investing is directly proportional to amount of money earned (Well in most of the cases).
So don’t hesitate asking for advance, let your client know that you value your time and you don’t work for charity (no offence intended). Getting advance deposit always serves as an excellent motivation to kick start the project leading to faster and better work completion for the client.
Advance deposit is a risk for client too, as it means the freelancer can cut off contact after receiving money. So you will need to assure your client to give the deposit.
Get 100% sure what the client want –
Never start the work unless you are 100% sure what your client exactly wants.
If you skip this part, you will frequently find yourself wasting several hours of work for nothing as client will render it wrong when he will view it.
So it’s wise for both to discuss the whole detail of project before starting the work.
Get a full written document (Known as SRS technically) describing the complete points to be completed and the deadline.
Decide whether you want to get paid on hourly or on project basis –
It’s smart to charge project basis for small projects and hourly basis for big projects.
Hourly basis is beneficial, as it allows you to deliver the best you got. It covers the time required to do research, which is not feasible when you charge on project basis.
And if the client wants to redo some parts or want to modify sections of your project, you can freely work more as long you are paid on an hourly basis.
Have a fixed mode of communication –
Declare or agree on mode of communication with your client. I personally prefer chat to be more effective and stress free than phone calls. I receive more than 30 calls a day related to work which affects my productivity a lot.
Using chat service has its own advantages and disadvantages, where advantages are having a record of conversation, it doesn’t disturb your nap, and you can manage multiple clients at the same time using chat service. While disadvantages are urgent messages can get ignored or client may not be able to express what he/she wants perfectly.
Inform your client at what time you will be available to discuss about project or help them out with their issues. (You can’t always be available).
You can always choose phone call hours, to efficiently manage your project and clients.
Set a Deadline –
It’s crucial both for yourself and your client to set a date of completion of the project or a part of the project. Clients are usually keen to see what progress you have made on an interval of time. So you need to make sure that you give them a completion date in which you can complete the project or a milestone of a project. It will also help you to organize your tasks at hand and your free time easily.
Get paid in steps –
My recommendation is to have an agreement with client to get paid in steps rather than waiting for a big chunk of payment in the last.
Freelancer.com has a feature in which you can set milestones of a project and get paid as soon as you complete a milestone. Freelancer.com is a great platform to get started as a professional freelancer.
This part is important as by choosing this mode of payment, interests of both the sides remains preserved while boosting Freelancer’s motivation for work.
Don’t settle for pay lower than your value –
You need to set your value of time invested in projects as this will only pay your bills. Never settle for less pay no matter how attractive it may seem.
Clients always ask for cheap budget promising more projects, referrals, or less work. But no one knows what lies on the other side. Current money always have more value than the future. 100$ today have more value than 100$ tomorrow, so always charge the clients the true value of your time and skill.
Always charge extra for extra work –
Points other than discussed should always be charged. For clients it’s always 2-3 subpages or informative pages. But for you it’s more 2-3 hours of work. So make it clear to them that the service is chargeable rather than complementary.
Overtime or Urgency should be charged as agreed.
Agree on free bug fixation service for a fixed period of time, after that it should be chargeable.
Never ask for referrals –
Don’t ask your clients to refer you to their friends and clients, which will make you sound desperate.
Instead work so good that it happens without asking. If you work well, naturally you will get referred. Let your work travel places where you could not.
Always update your clients –
Make it a habit to update your clients on a regular basis. They pay your bills so they must know how much you have progressed with their work.
Let your client know if you are going to take a day off beforehand, so that they can discuss important points prior to your holiday.
Let your client know if your extra services cost you as well –
If you give extra services to them like hosting, Bulk SMS service or a digital product license, then always remind your client about it so that they include it in your final pay.
Always Be Honest-
Don’t give false excuses or come up with a story for a delay in completion of your project. Don’t charge them unnecessarily because “You always get what you sow” and a good client relationship is always based on trust. Trust towards the client that he/she will compensate for your time and the trust towards the freelancer that he/she will give his best to complete the project on time and provide the best value for money.
Always keep your business and friendship separate –
Keep a strict protocol that you will never work with your friends or relatives no matter how tempting it may seem.
Most of time friends and relatives expect us to work for free, which is most of the time not possible due to obvious reasons.
Money issues always pour out venom in between strong relations, so prevention is better than cure.
Be flexible –
Freelancers and flexibility go together so you need to be flexible with your timings and work.
If your client didn’t show up for a Skype meeting or something, you need to reschedule it patiently while managing your other tasks efficiently.
Have good client management skill –
Try to remember your client name and about their bio. Make small conversations with your clients on a personal level, like sport or hobbies etc. and at the same time don’t sound too creepy. This all will break the ice and the client will know you are interested in them and make them comfortable in employing you for the project or future work.
You don’t want clients to get an impression that you are so busy person that you don’t have any time for a normal conversation. Always ask your clients for feedback and try to improve on those fronts.
Learn how to say no-
When freelancing is in the picture, you can imagine yourself multitasking with multiple projects piling up at the same time. So you need to say no to unnecessary outings or task which will eat your precious time. You need to stay professional while dealing with your projects at hand. Always set priority level for each task to manage all situations efficiently.
Always provide a world class service –
No matter who your client is, service provided must always be of world class. To make yourself stand out from the stack, you must be ready to go that extra mile for your projects. For example, If you just wrote a post for your client, you can go a step ahead and say you know what I can make or find a featured image for you, for free and not extra expenses. The client will leave you amazed and will definitely come back asking for more.
There goes a saying that “Customer is always right”, it’s true to an extent with exceptions. Sometimes they can be wrong, so you need to deal with such fussy clients on a professional level while showing your maturity.
I hope you all got what I wanted to express. These protocols come from my personal experience while doing freelancing and client management. Comment and let us know your reviews on it.
P.S. Bookmark Protocols for Freelancing Professionally to keep your Freelancing career in check.
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