Your good reputation is the very foundation upon which your business and life are built. It’s made up of everything you and your business does. And nothing could be more important than when you are offering freelance services.
And while your skills and past work experience speaks volumes to future clients, if you lack professionalism you can turn clients and potential clients away. From the way you treat each client, the way you complete jobs or follow up, the way you pay your bills to how you handle customer and vendor complaints, questions and problems professionalism matters. And helps build your rep.
To protect your professional reputation and ensure receiving top recommendations and referrals:
1) Read the job post carefully before connecting with the hiring company. Discover exactly what is required and whether you qualify.
One of the top issues hiring companies complain about most is freelancers who bid on jobs they aren’t qualified for. This happens when you don’t read the post carefully companies say.
Make sure you know the scope of the project and skills required to accomplish it. Be absolutely sure yours match up before sending a Cover Letter or bidding on a job.
2) Are you available for the amount of time required to complete the project you’ve bid on?
Be clear about deadlines and absolutely sure you have enough time available to complete the project successfully. Be sure you’ve taken all other job commitments into consideration, – any other deadlines you must meet – before making your move. In short, plan and organize your time accordingly before job bidding. Like it or not, failing to meet deadlines is unprofessional.
3) State clearly – upfront – why you are the best fit for the job or project when you write your Cover Letter or bid.
While you know you can do the work, it’s essential you show the client why. And fast.
* Most freelance marketing companies strongly suggest you include a well written Cover Letter with your bid. This allows you to make comments you may not have occasion to state in an email, phone conversation or include in a resume. Include several sharable stats and info about previous jobs completed.
* Demonstrate your skills – Provide links to completed work, to your web site and/or portfolio page.
* Include links to vids of your work or of you working on a project.
* Include links to video and other recommendations from clients.
Bottom line – Provide valuable info which makes it easy for a client to choose you.
4) When starting a project with a new company suggest a phone conversation or Skype meeting if unable to meet in person.
It’s important to get off to a good start with a new client. Discuss a convenient way to meet to discuss and confirm project-related dates and details.
5) Get the facts straight – don’t be afraid to ask questions during the interview or fact-gathering meeting.
Here are a few questions you should consider asking. Have your questions pre-written.
* Were all project facts included in the original job post?
* Be clear what is expected of you. Although you have read the job posting, things may have changed since the original post.
* Who is your contact once the work is started?
* Get passwords and other necessary info.
Before the conversation ends, make very sure you are clear about every aspect of the project and what the hiring company expects.
6. To manage your time well set specific deadlines with the client.
In your personal life, you can miss an occasional family or friend gathering. With clients, you commit yourself to fulfilling a work contract. Failing to meet agreed-to obligations is one of the top ways you propel yourself down the road to freelance reputation ruin. Set project timelines at the first meeting. Be realistic about how much work, how many projects you can complete. Only take on projects your skills and experience have prepared you for. And which you know, unequivocally, you can complete on time.
7) Plan to communicate on a regular basis.
End your meeting by discussing how often they expect you to communicate and what they expect to hear.
* Do they expect you to share what you have thus far accomplished? Or issues you’ve had to overcome? Should you reassure them you’re on track? Can you call when a problem arises?
Good to excellent communication with the client, respect for them and their needs, is crucial to forming a successful working relationship. Very importantly – keep your communications simple. Don’t over-explain. Be straightforward, succinct and consistent to keep your client relationships professional. And to help develop good relationships. All of which will help you build your reputation. And continue to be rehired.
Submitted by: Jean L. Serio CEIC, CDI, CPC, CeMA