Freelancing is fabulous! You’re your own boss, you can take as many coffee breaks as you like and you never get dirty looks from co-workers for being late. But being-self employed is not all fun and games. You have to be self-driven, keep to deadlines and make sure you find enough work to keep you afloat. Whether you’re only thinking about taking the leap or have already set out, here are a few business tips to get you going on the right foot.
- Be understood
It’s not always easy for full-timers such as managers, accountants and engineers to understand what it’s like to be self-employed. They can sometimes have harsh deadlines, unrealistic expectations, or difficulty understanding your working style. Take your time before you decide on who to work with, you want to make sure they will get you!
- Remember what it’s all about
Before you start a job, it’s always a good idea to present the client with a summary of the project as you understand it, a brief on what you will be doing, an estimate of the time it will take you and an explanation of exactly how you are charging. This document will be hugely helpful to both of you if there are any disagreements or changes later on.
- Use your mouth, AND your ears
Your likelihood of success, and referrals, is much higher if you are a good communicator and your client knows where their project is at all times. Listen to what the client wants and be sure to communicate to them how their project is progressing as you move forward, even if it’s not going according to plan. Most clients prefer the “Ok here’s how it is.” than the “Um, surprise!” approach.
- Know when to say No!
If a client is offering to pay you a rate that is far below the professionally accepted standards, just say no! Most professionals know exactly what market rates are and what margins of negotiation exist given your level of expertise. On the other hand, charities and start-ups sometimes really are strapped for cash but offer you free creative reign instead, which can really be a nice change on a job! Consider saying ‘yes’ in those cases!