Lots of people give up the day job for a freelancing career and never look back and it’s not hard to see why. The freedom to set your own hours, work at your own pace and choose through design or plain old trial and error which practices and processes work for you is understandably appealing. Most freelancers also appreciate being able to work autonomously, without having to get their every creative decision or artistic flourish signed off by a committee of managers and board members. But while freelancing allows us to take our career and our destiny into our own hands, we must be mindful of bad habits and poor practices that can harm our career prospects.
In lieu of the systems of training and professional development our salaried friends enjoy, freelancers must be true autodidacts, constantly learning new ways to make their practices more effective and efficient.
Nowhere is this better exemplified than in the world of communication. All freelancers, even those who work remotely, must be in a perpetual state of communication with clients, sources, contacts and others on whom they rely on a daily basis. Poor communication can not only undermine your credibility as a freelancer, it can scare clients away resulting in a sustained pattern of lost earnings. In order to ensure that your communicate clearly and efficiently for freelancing success, it’s vital that you learn to…
Choose a communications platform that works for you
Lots of freelancers feel that they come across best in person or over the phone, but these are rarely the most efficient means of communication. Cold calls from clients are a pet hate amongst veteran freelancers and while communicating over the phone can be advantageous to freelancers, it’s important to make sure that phone calls, skype calls and face to face meetings are scheduled as much as possible to allow for optimal time management.
Email is all well and good but it’s rarely the most efficient form of communication due to its lack of immediacy. As you’ll see from this post, many businesses are embracing the immediacy of text messaging to facilitate efficient business communications. There’s no right or wrong here, it’s simply a matter of what works for you.
Proof read your communications with the client in mind
When composing outbound communications to clients or when applying for freelance positions it’s important to read them with the client in mind. Is your use of language needlessly elaborate? Is your communication written with brevity and efficiency of communication? Bear in mind that the person reading it is likely to be very busy and won’t have time to pore over lengthy emails. While s smattering of technical jargon is good for showing that you know your onions, using too much of it can make you seem smug, while going OTT on the acronyms may alienate some clients.
Build value in your invoices
Finally, an oft overlooked form of communication with your clients is your invoicing. Your invoice isn’t just how you get paid, it’s an important part of your communications. Does the client know that they’re getting their money’s worth? Have you included any discounts or anything you’ve thrown in for free on your invoice? If your client recognizes the value in what they’re paying for, they’ll be much more likely to invite you back.
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