10 Tips for Better Freelance Communication
Quality communication is a crucial factor in every business process. Be it an enterprise or a freelancing project, proper communication is required. A freelancer can only successfully deliver work with it.
Every freelancer has a few stories of awkward conversations with their clients. The argument may be for deadlines, quality of the delivered project, budget, or mutual behavior and understanding.
Most of the time, poor communication is the core reason for such arguments.
Poor communication ultimately leads to financial losses, a decline in credibility, and demotivation for your freelance journey.
Freelancers must cultivate a proper communication practices with their clients. This article will share ten tips for improving communication with freelance clients and removing communication issues.
Let's begin with the importance of freelance communication in every stage of a freelance project.
Why is good communication important in freelance?
Communication is necessary for each stage of a freelance project. You are starting from the lead generation stage when you pitch yourself to your client and set up your potential story.
Further, when it's about project proposals, contract and budget discussions, communication and mutual decisions, if not taken properly, may lead to conflicts in the future. It would help if you did all the financial and contract discussions beforehand. In addition, always create a written freelance contract and share it with the client via email.
Even after the project comes to the final date, your relationship with the client does not end; Good communication leads to a long-term relationship.
As a freelancer, you can use only a few clients. As a single person, four to five long-term projects of an adequate budget are more than enough for good monthly revenue and workload. If you successfully build communication with these four to five clients, you probably save a lot of your time searching for new ones.
Excellent communication is well-embraced with human emotions in the right proportion.
It includes the honesty and integrity of the freelancer and the client. Listening to feedback is part of good communication. Encourage the client to talk, and you should listen for key points to improve yourself. All these will result in increased business success and drive towards writing more freelance invoices and receiving paychecks.
Now let's check the top 10 tips step-by-step.
Expectations and boundaries
The freelancer-client relationship is professional. Your client expects results or quality work based on the discussions and expectations set for you. Therefore, you must be honest with your potential, as it will change your client's expectations.
For instance, you may submit only two articles daily if you are a freelance writer. However, you promise the client to share four articles each day. When you hold back from the promise you made, it affects your reputation.
Set realistic and logical goals that can be met and fulfill the project criteria within the deadline.
In addition, please only put yourself in a position to work as much as possible; otherwise, it would lead to burnout.
Moreover, it would help if you carefully did not cross your professional boundaries and welcomed the client into your matters. Such practices may lead to unjustified business practices such as overdelivering or undercharging, leading to a poor business agreement.
Discussions are everyday events during freelance projects - a better discussion results in better results.
The discussion starts from day one when the client explains the project requirements and stays throughout as welcome feedback. As a freelancer, you must listen to every small need of the client.
Decide your preference of the medium of communication according to mutual preferability. If your client is comfortable with a video conference, but if you are not, talk about it. Try to explain which mode is comfortable for you.
In the case of calls or meetings, take notes sincerely to avoid any misconceptions. Also, it would help if you shared the meeting minutes with your client so that the client can verify their side. Be precise with your words and the objective of the discussion before scheduling an appointment.
3. Human connection
Don't be a tool for your client. No client will enjoy a robotic conversation and may ultimately lose interest in long-term projects with you. Understand that your client is a human too, and no professionalism turns that fact upside down.
A human touch to your conversation will make it more lively. There can be a more productive bond beyond the project.
Your client may seek help in other aspects of their business to increase your revenue.
This way, you won't only grow as a freelancer but also your network. Good bonds with your clients will save you time in your quest for new projects and clients because they will probably refer your services to others.
4. Workflow transparency
All of us have our way of working. There is no harm in it. However, both parties must build a simple, transparent workflow and working terms. It is good when working remotely with a freelance client.
You can achieve trust by sharing your working status and being transparent regularly. Tools like Google Spreadsheet, docs, or similar tools help resolve workflow differences.
Such collaborative and transparent project representations would help you avoid any future issues. In addition, the client can check the progress anytime they want and not bother you with emails or texts. Such dashboards and project status reports can help as an instrument in defending a chargeback.
I am listing some tools below to help you for better communication.
- Microsoft Teams
- Google Chat
5. Consistent communication
For better communication, consistency also matters. Your client expects timely updates on the progress, which can be daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, based on the size and subject of the project.
Seek out for any changes and queries to be resolved on a routine basis to avoid all the comments and feedback being resolved all at once, at the very last minute.
If you observe any communication inconsistency, address this to your client with a valid explanation. This way, you subconsciously picture yourself as a responsible and motivated person.
6. Listen to the client attentively
Communication is a two-way process. It involves listening and speaking. Intelligent beings have always advocated the philosophy of listening more than talking. And it's found to be a very effective communication strategy. So, it would help if you used it in your freelance communication.
Listening to the other person does not only make them feel important but also makes you understand every point that they make. In addition, avoid interrupting while the client puts forward their facts or arguments.
If you listen to the client, they will also listen to you.
Make a note while your client speaks, and when it's your turn to comment or remark on your arguments and suggestions, say it.
7. Mutual timings
A freelancer is always a busy person. That means you are only sometimes available for conversation. It goes for both; you and your freelance client.
Hence, pre-schedule the meeting time for every discussion according to your and the client's requirements. Respect the time of your client as much as you respect yours.
But be flexible about your time availability so your client feels comfortable with their schedule. If you put a bar on your schedule, you might frustrate the client who stays busy too.
It would help if you built a pattern of timely conversation to make good freelance communication.
8. Have a positive attitude
Your attitude defines your thinking direction. A person with a positive attitude is always willing to resolve queries, find solutions, and grow.
People love enthusiastic, charming, and growth-oriented people because their positivity is enough to fill the other person with positive vibes and aura. Your client is also expecting growth and solutions. Therefore, they are more willing to work with a positive-minded person.
On the other hand, a negative-minded freelancer invests more of their time in arguments, shortcuts, or problems, increasing the burden on the clients. Such an attitude fails to make much impact in a freelancing career. A negative mindset and attitude make communication worse for anyone.
Wear a smile, have a passionate and dedicated way of talking, and focus on your confidence. Clients love such freelancers.
9. Ask questions
A single doubt can turn into a disaster. So, immediately ask if you have any doubts regarding the budget, work process, deadline, or any other aspect of the project.
Questions are like doors. There is much more on the other side of this door. And you must not hesitate to ask your queries during the meetings or discussions with your client. Ensure to ask most of the questions on the first call itself.
If you make the mistake of moving ahead with doubt and working on assumptions, you might deliver something your client never expected. As a result, your entire hard work would go in vain and leave you with new changes to make.
10. Seek feedback
Even if you are communicating consistently and updating your work progress timely to your client, how would you know you are on the right track? Your client's feedback is as important as the questions you ask.
This feedback can be regarding the project quality, the workflow, fulfillment of the expectation, or even your personal qualities like attitude and nature.
Positive feedback definitely would motivate you to continue your work. At the same time, negative feedback or an opposing portion of feedback is equally essential for your freelancing career.
Negative feedback is, in fact, more valuable than positive feedback. Well, your client must be comfortable enough to give you constructive feedback.
Additionally, you should stay conscious enough to take the negative feedback to better yourself. Accept your flaws delightedly and work on improving by analyzing the feedback and discussing it with your mentor or colleagues.
After all, your communication skills help you build your client network, honest and positive testimonials, and more projects on a long-term relationship basis. Work on your soft skills and polish them to leverage the results for your career.
Note that your way of organizing the project details and crucial points is a part of your communication. In addition, organized stuff allows you to focus on the essential elements. Get the project deadlines done on time as a bonus.