Though my experience as a freelance web-designer and content marketing writer can be considered a short lived one (I have been doing it for about 3 years now) it is the amount of problems i have had that makes sure I have learnt a lot in this short period of time. One of the biggest issues I (and possibly every-other freelancer out there) have faced is getting payed on time and not left waiting for payments that never come through.
“unless you have everything written and explicitly clear for both designer and client, issues will arise.”
By making mistakes (yes I have been left waiting for payments that never came through a.k.a they have ripped me off proper) I have learnt a few tricks to ensure that it doesn’t happen as often, today I want to share those tips with you. Feel free to contact il-mato designs on any subject that involves WordPress web design, content marketing and social media campaigns- I love to help and collaborate with those, that just like me, are trying to become useful in our ever more interconnected virtual world…. Here’s the list:
Create a questionnaire that allows you to understand the clients expectations and budget:
Hotelier and blogger Edward Carter once told me the reason why people have bad experiences is not always because your service wasn’t good, but rather because their expectations were higher than what your service provided. Then he would often tell us how he marketed his hotel as a 4 start property rather than a 5 star (even though his service was 5 star) because when people came expecting a 4 start treatment and were received with something better than their initial expectations, they always left happier.
In a similar way, when talking about creating a website for a new client is extremely important to understand what they expect. Actually, sometimes this freelance questionnaire helps them understand what exactly they expect (is really interesting to notice most people don’t actually know what they want, even when its their own business!) .
So, by asking some clear questions regarding their competitors, their budget, the time frame they expect to receive the website, how much content they already have, etc, you will be obtaining very valuable information that allows you to provide a better answer as to when you can complete the tasks they expect from you.
Further more, by getting this information before hand you will also be in a position to say no to impossible projects (once I had a guy that wanted a website to sell viagra delivered in 2 weeks, he had no content, didn’t know who his competitors were and had a budget of 10,000 THB… WTF right?). Along the same lines, this questionnaire will allow you to identify potentially problematic clients and stay well away from them before even doing any work, which is a very good idea when you are freelancing and time is of the essence.
Use this template to create a contract that fits your business:
If there’s something I have certainly learned is that unless you have everything written and explicitly clear for both designer and client, issues will arise. I found this awesome freelance killer contract that will save you a lot of time! Just have a read through it and adapt it to your specific services. Even though it was originally created for a web-designer, you can still get quite a lot from it as any type of freelancer.
Once we have these documents that will allows us to draw a clear line between what the customers expect and what we are able to provide, the last step will be to ensure all our documents look professional enough to be taken seriously
Brand all your new documents and collaterals:
A big part of being expected as a professional comes from the strength of your branding. Make sure you add your logo to all your contracts and questionnaires. This way you go from a ‘dumb freelancer’ to an actual professional expert that cares about his business.
Not that adding a logo and some information will make you more or less smart, but as most things in life, it is the perception that other people have about you that will influence their actions towards you and your business. If you make yourself look professional, you will be treated accordingly by the people around you (which includes both peers and clients). You will be surprised how much more eager people will be to listen to you and agree on your terms once you start producing professional looking material. What can I say, books are still judged by their covers!
Here’s what the il-mato.biz questionnaire and freelance contract ended up looking like. If you got any other useful resource or idea which you have implemented as a freelancer which have helped you please feel free to share in the comments below! Hope it was helpful