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Paul Maplesden

Being a successful freelancer is about much more than just producing great work. If you want to convince a prospective client to hire you, or get existing clients to keep working with you, then you need to go beyond just “doing the work.”

 

Introduction

Providing a great service is all about giving your client or prospective client more than they expect. Whether they’ve hired freelancers before, or they’re new to the process, it’s a great chance to highlight why they should choose you over one of your competitors. There are several easy ways to create a good experience for your client. We’ll cover:

  1. Why you want to deliver a great service.
  2. Keeping your client informed
  3. Collaborating with your client
  4. Being professional and proactive.
  5. Setting and managing expectations.
  6. Sharing a good portfolio of work.
  7. Highlighting your experience and expertise.
  8. Going beyond what they might expect.

 

Why you deliver a great service

For most freelancers, the most time-consuming, non-chargeable part of our work is landing a client in the first place. It takes time to apply for jobs, market yourself and build a good website. Giving clients more than they expect has two main advantages:

  1. It can persuade a prospective client that you’re a better choice than a competing freelancer.
  2. It can convince your existing clients to keep working with you.

 

Keeping your client informed

There’s nothing more frustrating for a client than silence. A good freelancer needs to keep their client informed on progress, through active communications. This can be as simple as a quick email or Skype IM. On a longer term project, an update every day or two is the perfect frequency. Make sure your client knows how to get in contact with you, and respond to their messages as soon as possible.

Collaborating with your client

A flexible, adaptable approach is good for you and your client. You can demonstrate this through active collaboration and involving them in your freelance process. For example, a freelance writer might share copy in a Google Doc and invite the client to edit and make comments. The writer will then collaborate, revise the document and hone it into a final draft.

 

Being professional and proactive

You’re more than just a freelancer, you’re a business owner. This means presenting yourself in a professional way, including:

  • Getting a contract in place.
  • Clarifying your client’s needs and documenting them.
  • Meeting deadlines.
  • Charging fair, agreed upon rates.
  • Letting them know about any issues or problems as they arise.

 

Setting and managing expectations

Part of delivering work on time, on budget, and to the right quality is setting and managing the expectations of your client. This is why a briefing note is so important - It sets out what you’ll do, when you’ll do it, and what your client can expect. Combine this with regular communications to keep your client informed.

Sharing a good portfolio of work

If you’re trying to convince a prospective client, one of the best methods is to show, rather than tell. This means creating a portfolio website that shares your previous work. Ideally, you should divide your portfolio into several sections to highlight different skills and approaches, and make it easy to navigate. Here’s my portfolio website, which works well to convert clients.

 

Highlighting your experience and expertise

Your website, cover letters, job applications, and resume should all highlight your experience and expertise. Use short, concise bullet points and talk specifically about your accomplishments. Wherever possible, use facts and figures to backup your statements. This helps to convince clients you’re the right freelancer for them.

 

Going beyond what they might expect

Ultimately, providing the best service means going beyond what your client might expect. It’s about all the extra things you do, in addition to the work itself. It does require self-confidence, and presenting yourself in the best possible way. Every time you interact with a client, think about how you could impress them, and help them understand the value you provide.

Once you’ve developed this mindset, it becomes much easier to add value - You will get better at it, your client will appreciate it, and you’ll get regular work, recognition and good word-of-mouth.

 

Paul Maplesden is a freelance writer specializing in business finance, and technology. He wants his clients to love him.