5 reasons why you shouldn’t take your marketplace clients offline
Here’s a scenario that might sound familiar: You’ve settled in quite nicely on a marketplace like Upwork or Fiverr, and have found some really solid clients. Some of them are repeat business, getting in touch with you whenever they need your services or setting up an advanced schedule with you for projects that are coming up. You ask yourself, do I even need the marketplace anymore? Why not move offline with this client?
While at first glance it might seem easier to take your marketplace clients offline, there are some very good reasons you should not do this (the first one being, it’s against marketplace policy and can be seen as exploitation of the marketplace). Marketplaces offer freelancers benefits that shouldn’t be ignored and cannot really be duplicated when working directly. Here are some of the reasons why you should keep your marketplace clients in the marketplace environment:
#1: Get paid for milestones
One of the biggest perks of the marketplace environment is the milestone system; clients can set up project milestones, whether the project is big or small, and pay you in increments when you’ve reached them. This is particularly good for large-scale projects, which may take weeks (or even months) to reach final completion. It certainly doesn’t hurt to get paid for what you’ve done so far.
The milestone system has another benefit, which is staving off one of freelancers’ biggest enemies – scope creep. When a project is clearly defined with set objectives and milestones, scope creep is much less likely to occur.
Milestones can be set in advance of the project commencement and can help protect you financially.
#2: Maintain a good (and safe) relationship with your client
Have you established a positive relationship with a client? Great! That sure makes working together a lot easier. While things may have gone smoothly up until now, conflict may rear its ugly face in the future. Marketplaces like Upwork and Fiverr can help you prevent and manage conflict, with tools that promote transparency and documentation of your relationship. For example, Upwork offers tracking services to show your client your progress and time dedicated to the project. What’s more, the contract, messaging and project scope are managed within the system, giving you full back-up in any case of conflict or disagreement.
While you shouldn’t anticipate that any freelancer/client relationship is bound for doom, it’s good to know that the marketplace is there to provide additional support if needed.
#3: Free exposure and reviews: Get more clients and projects
A freelance marketplace is a marketing tool; you put yourself and your services out there and potential clients can find you. Once you’ve established and maintained clients in a marketplace, you’ll get reviews for your work and help build up your reputation. Many clients search for potential service providers based on their experience and client rating, so the more reviews the better.
Having a solid marketplace profile with positive client feedback can potentially increase your job security, sending more clients your way and making you a more attractive choice. You’ll be marketing yourself, while letting your clients sing your praises. What better testimony to your skills than the clients themselves?
#4: Reduce time-consuming administrative tasks
Being a freelancer means you’re running a business. Administrative tasks such as time tracking, billing and invoicing can all take a significant amount of your time. When you’re working with clients through a marketplace, these tasks virtually disappear. The marketplace handles billing and payments for you, so you don’t have to waste time or money on these tools. If you’ve worked with a client in the past, your employment history with them will be documented, and you’ll be able to easily access all relevant papers if and when needed for tax or filing purposes.
#5: Getting paid is effortless, secure and guaranteed
When you have a marketplace relationship with your client, payments are managed and processed through the marketplace. What does this mean for you?
- The marketplace handles the process, end-to-end. Is it time to send a bill? Remind a client about a pending invoice? Process the payment? The marketplace takes care of all of that for you. Whether it’s a milestone you’ve hit or the end of a project, the entire process is handled by the marketplace, relieving you of stress and saving you effort.
- Marketplaces are well-versed in managing international payments. No matter where on the planet you or your client are located, marketplaces know how to handle it. No need to worry about currency exchanges or the security of cross-border transfers; payments are safe, secure and guaranteed by the marketplace.
- Protection in the case of disputes. Have you run into a problematic client? Is payment late or missing? Marketplaces manage payment disputes and offer protection to service providers in case of payment issues with clients. This is an extra layer of protection that you get from your marketplace, that you won’t have if you take your clients offline.