It is one thing to quit a 9-5 job in the corporate world to freelance, it’s a different ball-game to succeed as a freelancer delivering top-notch services to clients.
The key to being successful in your newfound freelancing world likely lies in your clients' overall satisfaction. It's a sum of your communication skills with your employer throughout the project duration, your work deliverables, and the impact it will likely have on your client business. Projects completed but have little or no impact on the business or businesses will not fly and the client will not be considering working on it again at least not with you. Hence the need to offer opinions and recommendations throughout the project.
Sadly, many freelance talents have developed a bad reputation for delivering subpar results to their clients, most of which are rooted in poor communication and cluelessness on project deliverables. Improving your communication and productivity level will help a great deal for both you and your client. Clients’ satisfaction = recurring projects + referrals but what are the tips one can leverage to satisfy real clients or employees?
1. Apply for Jobs You Are an Expert In
Your application is as important and your skills. When you apply for a job, most clients and employees don't see it as an application. It's more like a proposal; an opportunity to offer a unique idea or a solution to a clients' problem. Therefore, the skills you outlined in your proposal should be the same you possess or even more. In an ever-evolving remote work environment, it's important to be more specific in your areas of expertise. For example, identifying oneself as a writer is quite generic as most writers have specific areas of expertise. E.g., Academic content and SEO content are parallel in their skillset requirement. One whose area of expertise is in academic writing and dissertations but lacks the basic knowledge of SEO will likely deliver funny content. It is best not to apply for jobs tailored to SEO writers. At least, you won't be drowning in the uncharted waters of SEO writing, sinking alongside your client’s precious time.
Pending when you improve on a skill or learn a new one, stick to projects you can efficiently deliver on because you’ve gained mastery in the needed skillset. That will foster an employer’s trust in your capabilities to handle their recurring jobs in your area of expertise.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Clarification Questions
Remote work has offered freelancers the opportunity to work within specific times they are comfortable with most during the night. Not all employers and clients will be available by then hence the need to have a concrete understanding of the project at hand. Asking clarification questions is a strength, not a weakness. Clients won't translate it to mean you don't have the IQ to process their task. Most clients strive to make their expectations understood as much as possible, it is unwise to keep questions to yourself about a project for fear of being perceived as inefficient. Invariably, it is better for the records that you have tagged a question master, than an unproductive freelancer who flops at tasks.
Whether it is about the deadline for a project submission or the nature of tools needed for a job, ensure that you reach out to your employer every time you encounter a challenge while working on a project. Not only will it help you gain clarity that facilitates top performance, but it also will spare you the venting of an annoyed and disappointed client.
3. Choose Your Clients
Just as employers and clients review freelancers’ proposals, profiles and portfolios, freelance talents ought to the same. Not every money is good money. Not every client is worth your time. Even a super-talented freelancer can be maligned with distasteful reviews by an insatiable client who won’t come to terms with his greed.
No matter how juicy a job’s budget, always pay attention to the personality of a potential employer through his job description, task expectations, and his view of freelance talents. By and large, a client who thinks respectfully of freelancers will be cooperative, communicative, and appreciative of your efforts.
On the other hand, a disgruntled person who feels freelancers are rats on a chase, won’t change with you. Even if a prospective client comes off as nice and kind but your instincts don’t think you can work happily with him, you have no reason to disobey. Freelancing is more personal than a traditional office job; a bad encounter with a narcissistic employer could haunt you, and affect your perception of future employers and productivity.
And there you have them! Indeed, it takes a superpower to wade through the highwaters of freelancing without getting hit by unpleasant experiences relating to engagements and relationships with clients, and task achievement.
By submitting your proposal to jobs you are adequately skilled in, inquiring on job expectations for clarity purposes, and intentionally choosing to work with respectful clients who you can connect with emotionally and mentally, you are a lot safer and potentially successful than the freelancers who aren’t privy to this information.