A very important element to freelancing success is figuring out how to start and continue a great working relationship with your employer. You may not believe it, but freelancers who start and maintain excellent employer-contractor relationships almost always end up with return business, great feedback, and referrals.
Here are 5 excellent tips to help you start a great working relationship with your employers:
1. Create a plan detailing what needs to be done to successfully complete the project. You can do this by asking the client for his requirements, objectives, and other related information needed for the project. You can also present a checklist of items that details the specific needs of the employer. To serve as your template, you can download the oDesk checklist for contractor success.
2. Clarify everything by asking questions. It is always better to ask ten questions and get the job done right, than spend 100 hours working on something that isn’t what was asked for. Both your time and your client’s time are precious, so spend it wisely by making sure that everything is clear and understood before turning on your time tracker.
3. Be friendly, respectful, and enthusiastic! Although it’s important to act professionally, clients enjoy working with freelancers who show some enthusiasm, kindness, and genuine passion for what they do. Don’t be too shy to smile or laugh during an interview — and always treat the client with kindness, understanding, and respect. Trust me, it will return to you a hundredfold.
4. Always be honest with your client. No matter how tempting it is to fib even a little bit, the truth will always reveal itself. Instead of trying to impress your client with lies or hiding fatal mistakes with excuses, tell the truth. Your client will appreciate your honesty and apologies a whole lot more than your sad attempts at fooling him to believing that you’ve got everything under control.
5. Keep your promises, or in this case, your deadlines. The great thing about being a freelancer is being able to work under our own work schedules and wherever our hearts take us. Keep in mind though that our projects are all under deadlines and it’s up to us to deliver high quality work on time. If you’re given the opportunity to set a deadline, suggest a reasonable time frame for the project and check in regularly with work updates in case there are time or work issues that need to be addressed.
Building a successful relationship with your employer is possible if you have the determination and the right mindset to make it happen. Even if you’re just starting out and looking for your first big break, you can set the right mood and foster comfortable and honest communication between you and your client with the help of these tips.
Do you have other tips to share in starting great working relationships with your clients? If you’re a client, what other tips do you think freelancers should learn to build great working relationships with you? Tell us in the comments below.