If there’s one thing technology has done to help the masses, it’s to make it easy to communicate with people from all over the globe.
And with that, it has become easy for people to work remotely. Especially with the development of online project management platforms like G-Suite, Slack, Trello, and many others, it has become easy to collaborate on projects easily despite the geographical divide.
This has ultimately led to the birth and growth of the gig economy. Many startups, and even big organizations, are beginning to rely more and more on freelancers for seasonal projects as this helps cut down costs. And for those who want to freelance, it has opened up a world of opportunity. Just for the sake of an example, take a look at copywriters’ salaries. Bear in mind, most of them work as freelancers – remotely.
But with that ease of hiring and working with freelancers, there also comes the not so easy to navigate aspect of the setup – the client/freelancer relationship. And as is the case with many relationships, it’s not just the actions we take that make them thrive or fail, it’s also what we say.
6 Things a Client Never Wants to Hear From a Freelancer
And as a freelance writer, there are certain things your client never wants to hear you saying, otherwise that will be the end of your contract.
So what should you avoid saying to your client (at all costs)?
Let me show you 6 things a client never wants to hear a freelancer say. It will save you your business and ensure you have a meal on your table.
1. I Work at My Own Pace
Besides being plain rude, telling a client that you work at your own pace is a sure way to trigger distrust alarms in your client’s mind.
Although organic working is a great way of producing your best work, you will have to remember that your client has time lines and deadlines they have to adhere to. As a freelancer, you will have to work with those deadlines too.
When a client asks you when you can hand in your project or for milestones, the last thing they want to hear from you is, “I work at my own pace”.
One of the biggest keys to success for every freelancer is the ability, not just to meet deadlines, but to beat them as well. This means you need to reassure your client that you will hand in your part of the project on time. And then make sure you deliver – on time.
2. Just Trust Me on This
Your client is not your friend. So yes, they are allowed to have trust issues with you. And this is especially true if your relationship is just in its infancy.
Always present your client with an easy to understand plan of how you are going to carry out your project. Remember, money is hanging in the balance. And wherever money is involved, a lot of reassurance is needed.
Your client has no reason to trust you. Win their trust by letting them know your process and milestones.
If your client doesn’t provide a plan of execution come up with one and present it them. That will prove to them that you are an expert in your field and that you have initiative. And those are 2 qualities that will make it easier for you to upsell them on more services or increase your rates in the future.
Which brings us to the next thing clients don’t want to hear from freelancers…
3. I Need More Money
However tactically you may put it, a request for more money mid project is just a non-starter. Even if you undercharged the client as you were bidding or putting in your proposal, you will need to finish your project with the budget you quoted.
That is business integrity.
Asking for more money than you quoted is a sign of greed, and no one cares to work with a greedy person. The best way to do this is to do your due diligence to investigate the average going rates for the scope of the project and bid accordingly. Bidding lower just so that you land the gig is a sure way to shoot yourself in the foot.
4. I Don’t Know
When a client asks a question, the last thing they want to hear from you is “I don’t know”. Even if you don’t have the answer to the question or a solution to the problem, give them a reassurance that there is an answer or solution.
How do you do that?
Easy. Tell them you don’t have the answer right away but you can find out for them. If it is a job they need done, let them know you are not able to do it but you can refer them to someone who is an expert in the field.
By responding in this way, not only are you proving your honesty, but you are showing yourself to be a valuable resource. This will keep you on their mind whenever they need anything.
5. My Cat is Sick
You may not put it like that exactly, but bottom line is it’s an excuse. And clients don’t like excuses, they like results.
So how to do you avoid giving excuses?
Do your best to deliver quality work on time, every time.
The main reason freelancers play the excuse game most of the time is that they bite off more than they can chew. In simple terms, they take on too much work instead of turning down new clients. This results in excuses and asking for extensions of deadlines.
Another reason for excuses is poor planning. Just because you are a freelancer doesn’t mean you should work haphazardly or when you feel like it. In order to produce work you can submit without any excuses tied to it, you have to set yourself some working hours that you will stick to.
6. Sorry for the Late Response
Anything you are sorry for shows a mistake on your part. And mistakes spoil many a good professional relationship.
Understandably, because most freelancers are remote workers and many of them working from different time zones, it’s easy for there to be a bit of communication lags. The best way to avoid the suspense built up by delayed responses, is to make it clear to your client which time zone you are in and even let them know the times you will be sleeping.
As much as possible, try to keep communication as much in real time as possible. More often than not, your client will also be under pressure on their end and your quick response will put them at ease. It’s also a sign that you are prioritizing them over other things.
If you’re looking for an easy way to endear yourself in a client’s heart, responding quickly to their emails or other types of communication is it.
Be Careful How You Communicate with Clients – Your Business Depends on It
Communication is the lifeblood of every business, and most especially when you are a freelancer. The way you communicate with clients determines whether they give you more projects in the future or not. This means no matter how they may seem to be the epitome of the client from hell, do your utmost to be courteous, polite, and professional.
Whatever you do, don’t stick your foot into your mouth by saying the 6 things listed above.
Here’s to your great relationship with your client.