Managing client expectations is a critical component of personal and professional growth and something both new and seasoned freelancers struggle with. Its important to note that the number of self-employed professionals in American business is expected to triple in the next two years, hitting 42 million by 2020.
Here are a few tips for keeping clients happy without losing yourself in the process:
1. Be Clear Up Front
Hash out as many details as possible early on, preferably before quoting an estimate, so that there are no surprises and everyone is on the same page about the scope of work.
2. Get it in writing
Once the scope of work is ironed out create a contract clearly laying out the SOW. These could include expectations on your time, deadlines that need to be met, and what to do in the event of complications. This protects you but it also provides peace of mind for the client.
3. Make a plan and stick to it
It shouldn’t be a surprise that any freelancer should strive to hit every deadline they can. Proper planning and sharing that plan with the client can help provide realistic expectations on your time as well as deter project creep.
4. Check in early and often
Clients want to know that you’re working hard on their behalf so providing regular progress reports is a great way to show clients that everything is on track.
5. Clarify, Clarify, Clarify
Nothing is worse than spending hours on a project only to find out something had been lost in translation. It never hurts to over-communicate with the client to ensure that you understand what they are looking for and that they understand what they are asking you to accomplish.