So you have jumped into the world of freelancing, learned about the common problems freelancers face and how to fix them. You’ve learned what to put in your contract, that criticism can help inspire you to improve and become a better freelancer.
After knowing how to manage your reputation as a freelancer, how to use testimonials to win more new clients, how to get rid of the bad habits that destroy a freelancing career, and how to handle different client types like a charm, you probably think everything is set and ready.
And yet it seems that you can’t get your clients to love you enough to keep you on their speed dial. If you are facing this problem, this post may be of some help. We’re going to look at 7 traits you must have to keep clients coming back because in many cases, at the end of the day, good chemistry is the most important part of most client-freelancer relationships.
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Commitment is required in any job but freelancers who are clearly committed are the client’s favorite. Is commitment just about deadlines though? No, there’s more to it. It’s about giving your best in every little task, getting to the problem in-depth to find the best solution for the problem at hand.
Clients love freelancers who go the extra mile, are proactive and professionals. With these kinds of freelancers, you never have to instruct them to give their 100%. They think you deserve no less, and are seriously devoted to get the job done.
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Sure, when freelancing, you consider yourself the boss, but in truth, the client is the freelancer’s boss. The freelancer produces work based on the creative brief as provided by the client, and takes payment as provided by the client.
Even if, you don’t see him face to face every day, the client is still the boss. As a freelancer, you must carry that attitude with you, and always be eager to produce work that will make "the boss" happy. At the very least, you have to be respectful of their wishes, opinions and thoughts. And like how you treat any other boss, you will need to learn to tolerate some of the idiosyncracies of clients.
This is far from a phrase you use in mockery. It’s an attitude, a behavioral pattern that culminates in the way you treat your clients, and your work. I have come across freelancers who think they are more knowledgeable than me, who knows better, and are therefore "more" correct. They think my way is neither good enough nor the right way; their way is better.
Safe to say, those relationships did not last long (did you think it would?). I have my reasons for requiring things done a certain way, and I acquired their services because I needed their skills, not so much, their views. A freelancer must understand where their clients are coming from and assist them in achieving their visions, where possible.
And yet, you have to leave the door open, just a little, for surprises. Clients love those who can surprise them with something new, fresh and unexpected in the project. It can be just about anything that the client has never thought about: a new or a novel way of doing a task, or something surprisingly peachy about the project.
Just make sure the surprises have a positive bearing. Never surprise him with your crazy antics or something that is the total opposite of what they wanted; otherwise, you might be off his list.
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We all make mistakes, as the adage goes, but note that if you make mistakes you should be the one responsible for fixing said mistake. Be smart about it, find a win-win solution that can serve both you and your client. And do it fast, not after it has escalated to a point of no return.
No one likes to be pointed out where they have done something wrong, but we are only human, and we make mistakes even when we try not to. When criticized for a job not-so-well done, accept it, deal with it and let go. Having a huge ego gets you nowhere, especially in a profession where you have to depend on someone else liking your work.
Successful freelancers don’t take nonsense or produce nonsense. There is a need to place an invisible gate between freelancer and client. Just because the both of you play the guitar and stay in the same city, don’t think that you are now both best of friends and projects will drop on your lap.
If you expect that, then also start expecting when your clients will turn around and ask for discounts for your services because you guys are best buddies. Doesn’t sound too appealing now, does it? Keep your distance, and you might be able to keep your bills paid.
A client is expected to be a busy person, that’s the reason he hired you in the first place. He doesn’t have enough time to devote to his projects. So it’s no surprise that clients love freelancers who know what they are doing and who can pick up things fast. If it takes too long a time for you to understand their instructions or their methods, the client may prefer another freelancer who can "get it" faster.
That said, every project offers something new to learn, hence the eagerness to learn has to be there. Otherwise, we would stop learning and won’t ever improve. Some clients love those who have this "I want to learn anything" attitude. It’s way better than a "this is beneath me, let someone else do it" attitude.
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Have more traits you’ve seen in successful freelancers? Share them with us in the comments area.