It’s still technically the New Year, and I’m still technically trying to improve myself.
I always set New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, most people in my family do. It’s fun, and an energetic way to start each year off on the proverbial right foot. As the holidays season began to wind down, I started looking at my freelance career. Quite frankly, I’ve made a lot of mistakes, and this has cost me business and money.
Mistakes are worthless unless you learn from them, and in an effort to gain more business (that means you) and improve the quality of my work and the satisfaction of my clients here are some invaluable lessons I’ve learned, and how I plan to implement solutions in the future.
Service Agreements – I’ve been very lucky during my first year of freelance, but I’ve also had some bad luck. Failure to outline the scope of a project, and failure to secure payments whether or not my work is used has cost me money. I take responsibility for not supplying my clients with a comprehensive look at each project in written form that we can both sign on the happy dotted line.
Solution: Write one, dammit. I’ve started drafting a service agreement that simply states the scope of the project, when payment is due, how many revisions are to be expected and who has the rights to the writes.
Failure to Communicate – This is a two way street. While I pride myself on being an open resource for any and all of my clients, it is my responsibility to clearly explain my communication expectations. I will follow up with you if I don’t hear from you. No, I’m not nagging you, I’m helping your project become successfully completed in a timely manner. Not your cup of tea? Let’s communicate about how we can communicate better.
Solution: The commitment to clearly outline the way we can communicate for the betterment of your project.
Charging Too Little – When you’re in your first year of freelancing, or when you start your own business, it’s easy to charge too little for your services. I’ve been in many meetings where I state my fee and potential clients back peddle. When this happens, I tend to lower my rates so I don’t lose business.
Solution: I – WE – need to slap our wrists when we get that urge and hold fast to our reasonable, but necessary rates for the quality of work we do.
I’ve learned more than these three lessons during the past year. Simple motivational tips like the importance of getting dressed everyday and when to unplug are keys to staying positive and motivated. I look forward to improving on these and other goals as I work towards improving existing client relationships and gaining new ones.
What lessons have you learned this past year?