Reduce the number of revisions you are asked for, and improve your overall experience, by communicating effectively with your freelance clients.
As a freelance writer, I work in a communications industry. I know first-hand the importance of communication when I work with freelance clients. Yes, communication is important no matter who you work with, but as a freelancer, good communication is key.
The better you communicate with your client up front, the fewer revisions s/he are likely to ask for. I rarely need to make revisions. Part of this is because I have awesome clients and because, as a professional blogger, a lot of the time it's just about putting up a post that isn't riddled with mistakes. But, for the non-blog clients, one of the main reasons that I rarely have to revise my work, and that only one revision is usually required if it's requested, is because there is clear communication.
It saves you time, and helps you work more efficiently, allowing you to make more money in the long. And you end up with happier freelance clients. Which means the potential for long-term work, and good word-of-mouth references.
How to Communicate with Freelance Clients
Because I have a bit of social awkwardness, I prefer to connect via email. I'm still terse and business-like over email in a lot of cases, but at least I don't sound like I'm dying to get off the phone (because I am, in fact, dying to get off the phone).
As you connect with freelance clients, consider these 5 tips for more effective communication:
- Connect How You're Most Comfortable: Some clients just want to talk to me on the phone. So I oblige. But whenever I can, I like to connect via email. I'm more comfortable that way, and it's easier for me to understand what the client wants when I read it rather than hear it. Figure out how you work best, and then connect that way.
- Get It In Writing: Even if you prefer to conduct business over the phone (or via video chat), make sure you get it in writing. At the end of a phone conversation, send a summary email to confirm what you talked about, and what the client wants. Make sure the client replies in the affirmative (or with changes) before you start.
- Keep It Professional: When you start with a freelance client, you need to keep the communication professional. I do have some clients that I know well on a personal basis, and things are a little less formal with them. However, in many cases, when we're discussing new projects or negotiating pay, or dealing with business-related issues, the communication becomes more professional — even if we have been to clubs together.
- Ask Questions: If there's something you're not clear on, don't be afraid to ask questions. You want to make sure that you know what the freelance client wants, and that you are clear on it. That's really important if you want to avoid endless revisions — or an outright rejection of the work you just put in. Clarify when the situation calls for clarification, and do it before you get to work, or move on to the next phase.
- Provide Advice When Needed: When I'm hiring someone to do something for me (like design my book cover), I ask for advice. Sometimes, the freelancer just gives it to me. You can do the same. If you see something that could be done differently or better, offer advice. Be tactful about it, and be honest — especially if the client asks for your feedback. Your helpful feedback and advice can enhance the project, and make the client happier.
With most things in life, communication really is key. This is especially true when working with freelance clients. Without good communication, there is a chance that you will both be unsatisfied with the relationship.
What are your best tips for better communication with freelance clients?