Freelancing gives you the freedom to work with an array of different clients from all over the world – but with the rise of technology enabling freelancers to work remotely, managing communication with clients can often prove to be a challenge.
From spending more time with your children by working from home to developing your versatility by working with a number of different clients, there is no shortage of reasons why freelancing is such an appealing prospect for many professionals.
And with the exponential advancement of technology creating even more opportunities for freelancers, the flexibility of working remotely has given freelancers the ability to expand their client list on both a national and international level – making great communication all the more important.
Whether you’re freelancing for a company based overseas or working for a number of different clients during the week, working remotely can often create challenges when it comes to communication.
As opposed to an in-house employee, freelancers can often be less familiar with a client’s company values and expectations – and the physical distance between you and the office can make getting in contact increasingly difficult.
Here are a few tips on how to ensure that you’re communicating effectively with your clients – so you can complete your projects to the highest standard, in the most productive way.
1. Regularly report back
Whether it’s due to the time difference or your flexible working hours, freelancers can often end up with entirely different work availability to their client – which means that getting in contact can sometimes prove to be tricky. Whether you’re online at the same time as their office or not, setting clear deadlines for each task and regularly reporting on a job’s status’ to the client means that you can avoid running into any time-management difficulties, should you be unable to keep to the initial schedule.
Time tracking systems are available both on desktop and as mobile apps – and with many of these available for free, you’ll be one step closer to organizing your time, ensuring productivity and delivering client satisfaction.
2. Ensure clarity with virtual meetings
From briefing staff members to encourage the sharing of ideas, team meetings ensure that each employee is well informed about the company’s current aims – as well as allowing a business to benefit from considering a variety of new creative ideas.
With video and voice conference call channels aplenty, it couldn’t be easier for freelancers to join in with contributing to these regular meetings – so it may be worth suggesting that your client arranges a virtual team meeting to discuss the project.
You might want to check our tips and advice on how to prepare for virtual meetings as a freelancer.
A video or voice conference means that you will be able to speak to all of the team members that you’ve been in touch with at one time too – so you can clear up any ambiguities or discrepancies that have arisen from communicating with more than one contact.
3. Always follow-up with written communication
The flexibility that comes with freelancing means that it’s up to you and the client to choose which communication channel will be the most appropriate for the task, but it’s important to remember that written communication will always be key when it comes to discussing the more serious side of the business.
Oral communication is likely to be quicker, but with the potential for things to be forgotten after the call, confirming your conversations in writing afterward is highly recommended. From instant messages to phone calls with the client, providing evidence of your discussion and establishing the key aspects of the outcome by sending a concise email means that you can ensure you and your client are on the same page about the project in hand.
4. Give crystal clear advice
With many freelancers commissioned tasks due to the company lacking a specific skill set, it’s important to bear in mind that your client may not fully understand the reasons or requirements for your actions in the project.
Transparency with the client will ensure a good working relationship and could mean more business together in the future, but that’s not to say that you should overcomplicate things when communicating.
Ensuring clarity is a must for every conversation when you’re a freelancer, but adapting your advice so that it’s understandable for the client means that they’re more likely to consistently implement it into their business.
5. Ask the right questions during a project
One of the biggest mistakes that a freelancer could make is arguably one of the simplest – and that’s not being confident in knowing what the task that’s been briefed actually is. As opposed to the full-time team, who will boast a wealth of experience in the client’s brand, freelancers won’t have the luxury of knowing all the ins-and-outs of the business – and that means that in order to produce the high quality of work that’ll be expected, finding out as much information as possible is crucial.
Asking questions will show both initiative and motivation to succeed at a task, so if you’re confused about a brief or looking for clarification about what the client actually wants, make sure you ask for the right answers – rather than just assuming them.
Whether you’re looking for further short-term contracts with the client in the future or hoping that word-of-mouth marketing will mean that more clients hear about your high standard of work, effective communication is key when it comes to freelancing.
From establishing a communication channel that works for you both to being transparent in your conversations, making full use of virtual communication options means that you can overcome any potential freelancing difficulties and nurture stronger relationships with your clients.