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Keeping Clients

Keeping Clients

Keeping clients is a key factor to ensuring a decent and fairly consistent flow of money into your account, and if you manage to maintain a good working relationship, it is very common for clients to keep requesting your work and services. As a freelancer, you are able to pick and choose your clients and associates to build up a professional circle of people you like to work with and who you trust, but keeping these relationships can often be hard work, especially with so much on the line from your side of the deal. Here are some good practices to make habit to ensure that they keep coming back for more.

Communication

- It is a frequently used cliche, but communication is key, and it is probably used so frequently because it is true. Keep your clients updated with your progress, about any hurdles you have overcome or any problems you are facing, as well as any victories and positive updated you can provide them with. Keep a friendly conversation ongoing with them, as much as they are comfortable with, as the closer they are to being friends with you, the more they will want to work with you and to help you out as a business person. Always be friendly, nice, professional, and approachable. Maybe even send them an email to wish them a Merry Christmas to remind them that they are still in the back of your mind.

Keep your promises

- Make sure that you adhere to deadlines, and maybe even provide work a little early to show that you are determined and to exceed their expectations, but not too early that they push you too hard to work to too strict deadlines that you can't keep up with. Schedule lots of checkpoints where you can talk to each other about the progress of the project. Provide all the work requested to the best standard that you can and within their requirements. Become like a reliable employee and put your money where your mouth is. If you can keep within your deadlines, they will be more likely to pay quickly and will trust you to deliver in the future when they need somebody to do some more work for them.

Make them feel like they are your top priority

- You may well be balancing numerous projects in your freelance life, but every client will think that they are your number one priority, even though in reality they probably are just as important as everybody else. Always ensure your clients that they are important to you, and make yourself approachable and contactable while you are working on their projects, and also after you have finished them. Your client will likely know that you are working on multiple projects, but make them feel like they are special and that their work is enjoyable for you.

Appear professional

- Okay, you are good at what you do, but do you appear like you know what you're talking about? If you have meetings with your clients, always be prepared so that they can put their trust into you. Always present yourself as well organised, reliable and friendly. Have an agenda prepared before the meeting, and ensure that all of their questions are answered and all of their worries are put at ease. Clients want to have a good relationship with you, but they also want to know that you can deliver results and be a professional when you need to be. Which leads us onto the next point.

Creating contracts

- This will not only ensure that you should get paid, and if not it gives you a basis for legal backing, but also it ensures that the client and you are both reading from the same page of the same book. While this might seem quite cold and formal, it gives you both something to support yourself with, should there be any disagreements, and you should be able to settle arguments quickly.

Looking after your clients is a very important part of freelancing, and you should structure this into the time that you plan to work on a project. Good relationships will keep them returning for more work and will help you to establish yourself even further in the field.


How to work faster

How to work faster

Particularly for those who are paid by the project or paid by the page, it is important to be able to work quickly as a freelancer in order to make the most profit out of the time that you dedicate to a cause. While quality is important and helps establish your reputation, quantity is what will pay the bills. Here are a few tricks to help you boost your productivity and to work faster.

Make a plan

- a lot of people benefit from having a daily plan, and, especially when you are freelancing, often there are no regulations or rules as to how you should plan out your day. It's very helpful to have set times for work and concrete but reasonable goals to achieve each day. It is also very important to schedule time off, and the beauty of most freelance work is that you are able to plan your own schedules around your social life and your time off. Just make sure you put aside enough time to work and not too much time to socialise. Many people find it helpful to have a very visual aid, and so utilise the calendar on your computer, or make a paper timetable and, most of all, stick to it. You may find it difficult to stick to your self allotted timetable at first, but as you become more accustomed to your work and how long tasks will take, your planning will become more refined and more accurate.

Prioritise

- when making your plan, make sure you realise what work is the most important and ensure that this gets done first. If you let the important work linger, it will loom over your subconscious and stress you out. Like writing down a timetable, sometimes it helps to have a visual aid, and there is definitely a therapeutic feeling every time you cross a task off a list.

Time yourself

- when you are too lenient with your time, or if you leave your allotted time open, you will almost always take more time to complete a task than if you push yourself. Sticking strictly to pre-allocated time slots is a good way to manage your time and to pressure yourself to work faster and produce more. It takes a lot of discipline and motivation to work when you have a whole day to complete something, so allocate the time to start and the time to finish. When you are new to your freelance work, it is also a good idea to time yourself completing tasks so that you have a fair idea of how long they should take in future, and also so you can set yourself goals to try and complete them faster to see an improvement in your workflow over time.

Disconnect

- it is far too easy to switch on Netflix, to look at your phone, to type Facebook into the top of your browser or to watch the television. You have to be disciplined, and make sure you don't get distracted. If you can switch off your phone, do so. If you can find a quiet room without any distractions such as a television, that will probably be your best chance of getting work completed, and whatever you do, don't give in to the temptation to procrastinate on the internet. Make sure you allocate downtime and time for yourself, when you can allow yourself to give in to all of these temptations, as it is important to keep a positive and motivated mindset, and working too much will destroy this, but when it comes to your productive time, stick to being productive, and make sure the two don't bleed together.

Treat yourself

- after you have completed a project, you will likely get paid, but don't let this be your only reward. If you can motivate yourself with small treats, and discipline yourself not to give in and take them before you have finished a task, then even something as simple as a delicious cookie can have a very positive effect on your workflow. Treating yourself for your hard work in small ways but frequently will help you to keep a positive mindset and to stay focussed during arduous tasks.