If you want to succeed as a freelancer, then it’s essential that you avoid falling into the traps that are all too easy to fall into when you’re just starting.
When you’re thinking about earning money as a freelancer because bills are due, you need to put food on the table, or you have medical bills, reputation isn’t the most important thing on your mind. After all, what could you lose, right?
Here is a short answer:
You can lose your freelancing career or any opportunity to earn if you don’t build a good reputation.
Here are seven ways you can avoid hurting your reputation as a freelancer
1. Freelancing is a business venture
Like any other business, it must be managed with care and attention. There is much competition in this market. You need to get an excellent online reputation like any other business. Otherwise, you might be missing out on clients.
Would you do business with someone with a poor reputation? No, right? If you don’t protect your reputation, clients will perceive you similarly.
One wrong move with a client can lead to a negative review and a low rating, so you must ensure that you keep your clients happy. You should maintain a quality output and be friendly and responsive regarding their concerns and feedback.
2. Quality work is everything
Quality work is something that cannot be faked. It starts with you being an expert on the skill you are selling and delivering high-quality work for the client with definite consistency. A failure to deliver quality work can affect your credibility, which is detrimental to your success and future.
3. Good Customer Service
Customer service skills are essential for anyone who wants to sell their services as a freelancer. Whether you have a customer service background or not, it’s easy to get good at providing excellent customer service if you study it and put it into practice.
How often you report to them, how you communicate with them, and your choice of words contribute to the rating you receive from the client.
Your customer service skills are handy when facing a difficult, unsatisfied, or angry client. So, learn customer service principles and practice them while managing your clients.
4. Great Client Communication
In today’s world, communication is everything. Clients want to know that they’re dealing with a professional, and part of this is practicing excellent communication.
Being great at communication starts with knowing what the client wants. If you don’t know what your clients want, you won’t be able to provide any service or information to them. But once you have that knowledge, you can provide adequate customer service.
Client communication means more than just talking to clients; it means listening to them and understanding their needs. This shows them that you value them as people and not just numbers. You will receive higher ratings if you do this well.
This also means getting feedback on your work and sharing ideas and suggestions with your client when necessary. After all, you are the hired expert. Finally, don’t be afraid to say no to your client. Just because they want something doesn’t mean you always have to give in.
5. Get Clients within the platform
Building your reputation means getting clients within the platform. An example of this is Upwork. It is a site that connects employers with freelancers, and the site helps make the process more efficient and less stressful (?). It also has an excellent rating and feedback system that you can use to build your reputation as a freelancer. The more high ratings and good feedback you get, the more marketable you become, and the more you can increase your rate.
As a freelancer using Upwork to get clients, I had to deal with fees that reduced my income; this was a significant disadvantage. I know it’s tempting to think it’s expensive, but you should consider it an investment in your freelancing career.
Once you get 5-star ratings and positive comments, you can find clients outside Upwork and be on your own.
The reputation you build on a platform like Upwork is nothing more than a tool you use so you can get more clients and get paid higher.
6. Be careful whom you deal with
Scammer clients are everywhere. You need to learn to recognize them, but you can only do so much to identify and filter them out.
When you work with a scam client, you waste your time and effort and could get banned on a platform like Upwork. If it happens on various platforms, imagine if you’re on your own; how easy is it for you to get scammed? Or to dedicate your time and energy to a job that does not get paid.
You’ll have to start from scratch if you accept a project and later find out it wasn’t real. So, be careful whom you work with.
7. Contract first
An advantage of working through a platform like Upwork is that they secure contracts with ongoing funding. This way, you don’t have to worry about the legitimacy of a client and whether you will get paid or not because the platform handles the billing, invoicing, and payment release for you.
When you are doing business outside a platform, a contract becomes insignificant. Sure, the client may give you one, but it’s not guaranteed that you will get paid after you deliver the work. That’s the risk you take when you leave a platform like Upwork or Fiverr.
So, why should you use a platform? Because it protects both parties. You are assured that each project is funded, so you can stop worrying about getting paid.
When you are a freelancer, reputation is everything. I’m sharing this topic a bit, but it’s essential. A poor freelancer’s reputation can affect your ability to earn a living.
As someone who has worked with platforms, I’ve seen more than my share of scams. They are everywhere; people bid on your work without intent to pay and then disappear. It’s a scary thing. So, ensure that they are legitimate before you start working for them.
If you find yourself in a situation where your reputation is damaged, your clients will look at someone else instead of you. This can be avoided by ensuring that you deliver on time and stay within the agreed-upon scope.
If you find yourself with a happy client, one way to protect your reputation is to use customer service principles when handling your client. This means going above and beyond and ensuring they are satisfied with their purchase.
Ultimately, how you treat your freelancing business is the most critical part of building a solid reputation as a freelancer.
Thanks for reading, and happy freelancing!