Are you a freelancer whose main source of workload comes from providing support from a remote location? If so, there are many responsibilities you have to your client and yourself to make sure you continue a professional and pleasing ‘workforce of one’ mantra.
One of the responsibilities you have as a freelancer is constantly communicating with the person or business who has hired you for different projects. From understanding your role to knowing just how to answer a potential customer to declining a project, you must always understand the etiquette of workload management.
Here is something to always keep in mind so your client (and your career) doesn’t go running for the hills after an encounter with you.
As a freelancer, you may be skilled with many attributes which attract new clients and customers to your door. But no matter how great you are at designing websites or crafting written content, if your communication skills are lacking your business will suffer.
This is why it’s such an important part of workload management to set yourself and your client up to succeed at the communication game from the beginning.
Once you have met your client, don’t go any further until you have acquired all modes of contact information in which they use on a daily basis. It’s important you exchange your personal and social information with them as well so they will be able to get in touch with you if need be.
Another thing to remember is to let them know you’re a good communicator. You will always find some people who only want results quickly. Sometimes it’s easy to see these people aren’t going to be easy to communicate with – let them know you will be asking questions and you will be holding them accountable for the answers when you need them.
In doing this, you will be establishing a level of trust with the business owner because they will know you want to do it right and you won’t go off half cocked with little-to-no info on the current project. Part of workload management is not being afraid to ask the questions, and politely making sure that clients understand that from the beginning.
You should always remember the etiquette when it involves speaking with your client. Another vital component of workload management is understanding that each person is different. Some adjustments will need to be made, so make sure you keep all of the following tips in mind and use them as a roadmap when speaking to your client.
No one wants to work with someone who doesn’t have good manners. Greet your client, saying, ‘Nice to meet you’ when you first meet them, and always remember to use their name.
Small little details like this can mean a lot to someone who’s been working behind a computer screen all day. This part of polite workload management helps them to remember the human side of working online, and it is a refreshing situation for them.
Always be conscious of your word choice and the way you say things to your clients. Try not to make yourself sound indignant or ungrateful. Avoid negative words like “I can’t” or “I don’t”, and always avoid the dreaded “no” word.
Polite workload management means that there are always other words and phrases you can use when talking to your client, like “I’m working on that right now!”, or “I will have that ready for you tomorrow!” Keep it upbeat and positive.
In this 21st Century internet world, the easiest thing to do to a client (or anyone else for that matter) is to ghost them. This is where you drop off the face of the planet and the person never hears from you again. This is not polite, and very poor workload management.
One of the main reasons a freelancer will ghost a client is because a project cannot get done or they’re at a communication loss and afraid to ask questions.
This is why the setup is so important. It will save you a lot of time in the future if they already know you’re going to ask questions. The client will sometimes ask you if you have any questions after getting to know you (and you didn’t ask any). They will ultimately hold you accountable for the setup, so make sure that it is part of your workload management plan.
To avoid the ghosting process, make sure you hold follow up meetings after projects, and schedule calls throughout the week. This friendly check-in ensures your client that you’re working for them as best you can and want to make sure they’re okay with what you are currently doing.
The most important aspect of being a freelancer doing any task for a client is your workload management plan. Communications is a big part of this, and being polite can help you gain their trust and encourage them to continue giving you more projects in the future.
Do everything in your power to set yourself up for success in all areas of this polite workload management process and you will continue to see your freelance business thrive.
Wade Harman is a content writing wizard with an M.A. in Cognitive Psychology. He shares social media psychology and other marketing tips online related to cognitive trigger response. He loves to fish and read comic books for fun, to get the creative juices flowing.
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