What are your tips for working productively with clients?

Working productively with clients can be a challenge for even experienced freelancers. Learn about the best tips for productive collaboration here.
What are your tips for working productively with clients?

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Freelancing for a living has gained popularity over the last few years, and this trend will only continue to grow. Working as a freelancer has some distinct advantages.

Although there are perks to being your own boss, some freelancers struggle with managing multiple clients. Dealing with clients is a balancing act.

You want to impress the client, but you have to keep what's best for you and your business in mind. The goal is to build your client list and keep your business moving forward.

Here are some tips for working productively with clients as you grow your freelance business.

Communicate with clients

Any freelance project must begin with communication. If you and the client aren't on the same page, it can lead to disaster.

You don't want to waste your time or miss out on a paying gig. As a freelancer, make sure you have a clear idea of the client's expectations.

Encourage clients to communicate with you and ask questions when in doubt. Keep your client informed as you progress through the project.

Some clients are more demanding than others. Although staying in touch isn't always enjoyable, it can prevent a world of problems for a freelancer.

Find a way to communicate that works for both of you. Good communication now can lead to a successful project, a happy client, and future work for you.

Set realistic expectations

In the early stages of a project, you want to have a clear plan before moving forward. Be clear about what you can do and what you need from the client.

Outline the deliverables from each side. Don't offer more than you can deliver.

Although it's tempting to say yes to whatever a client wants, you have to consider what you can actually do and what's best for you.

Be honest and transparent with your clients. Clients are paying for your expertise, so speak up and set realistic expectations from the beginning.

Adapt when needed

Although it's important to have a clear plan before starting a project, it's necessary to remain flexible as a freelancer. Clients often think of new ideas or changes along the way and expect you to implement them.

Although you can't meet every request, it's important to listen and try to meet the needs of the client if possible. Staying in contact allows you to update the client as you progress.

This can help prevent a situation where your final product doesn't meet the client's needs. The more difficult the client, the more important it is to communicate with them.

Staying fluid in your creative process can help you meet clients' expectations and as you move through the creative process.

Understand your client

Although you may use the same tools and methods on all of your freelance projects, no two clients are alike. Be sure to do your research and know your client.

Research their business and ask questions. Understanding your client can help you get a realistic picture of what they want. Knowing if they prefer a casual or business-like approach can provide some creative insight as you move forward with their project.

Explore the market and the current trends in their industry. If you have an idea, share it.

Clients don't always know what they want, and your input can often guide the creative process. Understanding your clients is a critical part of a successful freelance business.

Accept feedback  

Project revisions and even rejections are part of the world of freelance work. Learning to take criticism is part of the job.

It's important to distance yourself from the feedback and, instead, use it to your advantage. Try to understand where the client is coming from and what you can do to remedy the situation.

As a freelancer, it's about what the client wants. Some clients are tactful, but others may be harsh or rude. You can't take it personally. At the same time, you shouldn't put up with ongoing disrespectful behavior from a client.

Try to communicate and work together. If that's not possible, it's sometimes better to cut your losses and move to the next project.

Put it in writing

Every freelancer should start a new job with a solid contract. This should outline what you will do for the client, the terms you agreed on, and include the client's approval.

This helps you begin with a clear agreement and can help you avoid disagreements down the line. A contract offers the client a sense of security that you'll be working on the project and delivering on time.

As the project unfolds, communicate and make changes to the contract if needed. Having a contract protects you and keeps you and the client on the same page as the project unfolds.

Offer competitive rates

It's tempting as a new freelancer to underprice your services. But it's better to price your services based on your qualifications.

Clients will pay for good work, and they appreciate a high level of skill. If they don't, you need other clients.

Look at your experience and what you can offer them. Research what others with your skill set are charging for their services.

Set an honest price and track your time. Explain your rates to potential clients. As you gain experience, you should adjust your rates accordingly.

You're providing a valuable service for your clients. Take pride in your work and don't underestimate your value.

Ask for referrals

When you have completed a job and have a satisfied client, use it to your advantage. Don't hesitate to ask them for a referral or favorable review.

Let your clients know you are trying to build your business. Most will be happy to help.

When potential clients see that others value your work, they're more likely to hire you and pay you well. Use favorable reviews on your blog, website, or social media sites to promote your business.

Part of building a career as a freelancer is building a strong brand and generating a continual flow of new business.

Tips for working productively with clients

There are no set rules for working productively with clients as a freelancer. But a successful relationship always begins with communication.

We are committed to the success of freelancers just like you. Our goal is to provide great products to make your life as a freelancer easier. Take a moment and check out all we have to offer.

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Darryl Kelly
Darryl Kelly
Darryl shares what he's learned as both a freelance photographer and freelance consultant. His experience as a freelancer is what led him to co-found Hectic.
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