What it takes to earn client satisfaction as a freelancer.
To take on clients as a freelancer is great. It’s sort of how a freelancer survives. But when you’re starting out it’s harder than it seems to find clients, maintain them, and keep them coming back for more. With all of those things involved you need to develop a certain system of management for successfully holding onto clients. It’s a necessary part of being a freelancer. However, sometimes we need help understanding how to manage clients. Whether you are a beginner or you’re seasoned but need a refresher, here are some ways that our team at FreelancerNation.com has put together to successfully manage your clients.
Efficient Time Management
Developing time management skills is a prerequisite for just about everything in life. And with freelancing it is no different. You need to establish deadlines with clients, when you will do the work, when you will revise and leave plenty of time for the unforeseen to happen. This is easy with a few clients, but when you have 5+ clients who want things a very specific way, you will need to be on top of your time management game.
Creating a schedule and physically logging your time spent on projects will help keep you on track and make your work for your clients more tangible. Utilizing Google Calendar is a great way of doing this, and you can invite your clients to see.
Effective Client Communications
Communication can change the outcome of a great experience with a client and an absolutely horrible one. It also could determine the difference between getting paid or not – and I think most would agree the former is preferable to the latter. If you clearly set boundaries, establish a contract for work delivered, manage expectations, and a thousand others things that could arise you will be able to make both you and the client happy as well as have them coming back for repeat work.
Communication throughout a long project also keeps you on track. Getting constant feedback from a client makes sure that you are working in the right direction. Email communication provides a record of comments made and feedback provided, to provide you a reference and to keep unruly clients on track as well!
Under Promise, Over Deliver
And certainly never the opposite. This is more of a personal credo. It also gauges your ability to provide quality work in a certain amount of time and to exceed overall expectations. This will also give you the ability to “wow” your client if you get it done quicker while also giving you room for error if it wasn’t as easy of a job as you thought. It’s simple, yet effective. This will also play into communicating clearly as well as time management.
Check Up On Past Clients
This is one not a lot of people will consider. But using this effectively you can keep happy clients and maintain successful relationships as a freelancer. If you check up on the work you did for them and find them to be happy with it, great. But if you find that they didn’t like a specific feature or piece of writing then it gives you the opportunity to fix it for them and repair any damage it might have done between you and the client. Look at that, you managed to show them that you are better than other freelancers who tend to think when a job is done they can move on.
An ongoing client list will help fill your pipeline for projects and provide you a list to go back to later to see if more work is necessary, to even out those freelancer lows. You may one day need a past client reference to land a larger job or receive referral work from a past client. You are a brand, and you need to carry that well in your clients’ eyes.
Learn How To Handle Criticism
This can prove to be invaluable for your interaction with clients. And it is also great to keep in mind when you need to manage some … not so pleasant clients.
If you can take some criticism and still maintain a good relationship with a client, you’ll be fine. But you also have to remember this is a relationship and if it is unfair to you and the money isn’t there, bow out gracefully. But if the money is worth it, learn how to pivot and turn criticism into something constructive and build off of it.
Note: Constructive criticism is great for your personal and career development and you should absolutely pay heed to this. Unreasonable criticism comes from those that are unreasonable. Don’t engage with them – shrug it off and get on with other work. Last thing you want to do is start a war of words with a client – it is as draining as it is unproductive.
Successful Client Management for a Successful Freelance Career
Freelancing can be a hard game to manage at times. Clients might feel underwhelmed or they might just be hard to work with. Keep in mind – we’ve all been through it before. It can seem like the world is against you when a few clients or projects take a turn for the worst but it isn’t. There are certainly freelance highs and lows – you just need to level it out. With these tips and strategies, you will not only begin to maintain better relationships but also have a recipe for success.