As an online freelancer, I work for people all over the globe. This is one of the perks of web work — how else can I work with such a diverse group of people without constantly hopping on planes? But diversity comes with some challenges.
While many of us love working in our home office or other alternative venue of choice there will often be times when your projects take you to a client site for an extended period of time. I’ve spent time on and off client sites for a majority of my career, and know it can be difficult for some workers who are used to working from home.
This post offers up a refresher on some client site etiquette in case you find yourself rusty on it as you find yourself making the trudge back to a client site for the short or long term. Read More about The Web Worker’s Client Site Survival Guide
A friend of mine who is new to teleworking was complaining that her overseas prospects wanted to speak with her on the phone. Since she didn’t want to have to pay for international calls, she turned down these lucrative offers. “I don’t want my fees to be consumed by phone bills,” she said.
“You don’t need to use the phone, you can always use voice chat or VoIP,” I suggested.
It seems that not everyone who sets out to do web work knows how to establish their communication methods. There are many tools that allow us to sidestep more traditional — and usually more expensive — means of communicating with our clients, such as client visits and phone calls. For those who are just starting out, here are your options: Read More about Web Work 101: Communication Methods
The project milestone sheet is an incredibly important document for freelancers and their clients. It defines all the most important tasks, who is assigned to them, and when they are due. In other words, it serves as the map for your entire work process.
So how can you create a milestone sheet that works?
Many freelancers, especially at the beginning of their careers, may find themselves working with very difficult clients. When this has happened to me, either I helped change the client’s working behavior or stopped working with them altogether. While I always aim for the former approach, sometimes the better option is to end the working relationship. Whenever this happens I hope that if I do work with the client again in the future, they’ll be more cooperative — but that’s not guaranteed.
When one of your more difficult clients contacts you for a new project, how do you work with them again, without repeating the problems you previously had?
“Just do your work and then I’ll pay you.” I couldn’t believe what I was reading. My client told me to “just do (my) work” and yet he didn’t want to discuss any of the things that I needed to know to get the work done in the first place.He wanted to do away with the needs analysis stage and just get me to write a 50-page e-book based on a vague one paragraph description. If there’s a web app for telepathy I haven’t seen it, so he shouldn’t expect that I know how to finish a project after the first two emails.
To avoid this problem in the future, I’m reevaluating the way I work with clients. How do I include them in my work process? Can I improve on my current methodology?
How can we make our clients better informed so that they don’t ask us the same questions repeatedly? I believe that the following 5 documents can help
Sometimes, the cause of freelancing mistakes lies in forgetting to ask the right questions.
I know this because it has often happened to me, whether I’m applying as a contractor for a project or I’m the one hiring others to work with me. Asking these questions, no matter how simple or common they might be, makes you better prepared to take on a project. Plus, they show your client that you go the extra mile.
So what are these questions and why should we ask them?
What is this for? A few years ago, I made the mistake of accepting a seemingly simple request from a client to write articles about bathroom cleaning tips. I did the project with a slant on using homemade cleansers, not knowing that what the client wanted was to incorporate the use of commercially available products into the article. In the end I had to redo the entire job.
Some projects only look simple on the surface, but they turn out to be more layered than you think once you ask your client what they intend to accomplish with your work.
Read More about 5 Questions that Freelancers Often Forget to Ask Their Clients
You can’t please everybody. There’s a reason why that line is a cliché. I’ve yet to hear of a freelancer who never encountered a client who was disappointed in their work. Some clients keep their frustrations to themselves or simply stop working with you. Others, however, expect you to hear out an entire rant about what went wrong and how they feel about it.
In cases like those, it’s important to take calculated steps in fixing what went wrong.
Don’t panic. Your client is probably emotional the first time they contact you about a problem. Since that’s the case, it’s your job to be calm and logical. No good can come from having a shouting match about who’s right and who’s wrong.
Of course, this is easier to say than it is to do – especially if the client calls you on the phone. It’s easier to be calm and collected (or at least to seem that way) when you’re communicating via chat or email. On the phone, it takes more willpower.
How can we reconcile instant messenger apps’ usefulness as a communication tool with the fact that it can be downright annoying?