Frustrations of Working with Freelancers (and How to Avoid them)
Freelancers often rely on word of mouth recommendations to get new clients. If, as a freelancer, you are not getting enough referrals, or do not see your customers returning as often as you would like, you may be doing something that is frustrating your client.
To ensure your customers want to keep coming back to you and recommend your services, it is important to understand the frustrations companies have when working with freelancers in order to know how to avoid these issues.
Poor Communication and Responsiveness
Companies often outsource projects to freelancers because there is too much work to handle in house and they need something done urgently. If a company sends a project to a freelancer and doesn’t hear back from them in a timely manner, this can cause anxiety regarding the progress of the project.
To make sure you are not causing your clients more frustration than necessary, make it a point to communicate your progress in an ongoing way. This is especially important for long-term projects; clients may think that you are not working on their tasks if they do not hear from you.
If you effectively communicate how the project is going and raise red flags, ask questions or seek clarification in advance, you are far less likely to frustrate your customer, resulting in a happier customer and increased chance of them referring you to others.
The best way to avoid frustrating your customer by missing deadlines is to not miss deadlines. The way to do that is to plan your workload in advance and not wait until the last minute to start a project.
That being said, every freelancer misses a deadline at some point in their life, and that’s ok.
The only thing more frustrating for a client than a freelancer missing a deadline, is a freelancer missing a deadline and only letting them know when the deadline has passed. To avoid running over deadline last minute and causing your client unnecessary frustration, there are a few things you can do:
- Be aware of progress points in your project and let your client know if you are falling behind deadline due to the increased work the project required.
- If you miss a deadline due to an unforeseen event, take responsibility for missing the deadline and do not make last minute excuses.
- Do not blame your client for not clarifying the scope or giving you too much work – if you did not understand the project, it is your responsibility to make it known when you get the brief.
Over Promising and Under Delivering
Promising your client the moon can only work once unless you deliver it every time. That is why it is important to set expectations with your clients in order to avoid over-promising and under-delivering on projects.
When a client gives you a new project, take the time to communicate the hours it will take and the deliverables you will provide. If your client expects a 1,500 word blog and you provide them with a 500 word blog, you may not get to call them your client again. That is why it is important to align expectations before beginning any project.
Trying to Do It All
“Oh you’re a graphic designer? Can you also edit this video for me?”
“Of you’re a web developer? Can you just do this one little database development thing for me?”
Many freelancers would be tempted to say yes to any additional project a client asks them to take on, however this can be a source of frustration if you take on tasks that you are not really equipped to handle. Doing so will likely result in poor work quality and a negative experience with your customer.
To avoid turning in work that is out of your domain, do not agree to any project just for the sake of agreeing. Make sure to communicate to your customers where your skill sets are strongest, and be honest about skills you have not yet mastered.
In the long run, focusing on your strengths will help you create better work and your clients will be happier, making them more likely to come back for additional projects and recommend you to others.
Lack of Commitment
One of the reasons companies do not like working with freelancers is because they feel they are not committed to their company as much as a salaried employee would be.
The way to avoid this frustration is simple – communicate your commitment. Express to your customer your commitment, be honest about the time you have to allocate to them, and make it clear that when you are working on their projects, you are 100% dedicated to it.
Ultimately, time is the true test of commitment and by continually providing high quality work that is delivered on time you will be able to prove your commitment to your client.