The most fragile part of freelancing graphic design has to be maintaining your business relationships. When work comes along you can’t waste opportunities to impress.
So what are the factors of freelance success?
After moving to downtown Indianapolis, I sent out a few LinkedIn recommendation requests to current/past clients. Recommendations are always great resume builders, and LinkedIn asks the endorser to choose three top qualities.
Out of ten results, the most used words were: Great Results, Personable, Expert, On Time, Creative, Good Value, High Integrity. Three of them are highly notable, according to writer Neil Gaiman’s Speech at the University of the Arts.
Treat clients like people. Also, convey that you are also a hard-working person just like them with a life. A phone call will usually one-up an email. Let the client know that you appreciate the work they are giving you by thanking them.
Eventually, you will learn to joke with each other and share stories. That’s when you are building trust.
2. On Time
We all want to be paid on time, right? Well, return the favor by delivering projects on time.
If I’m ever going to be late, I always provide reasons that will benefit the project. A good example would be when I’m testing my front-end designs in multiple browsers. Being late is going to provide higher quality assurance for the client, which is usually OK if they aren’t pressed for time.
Tip: Overshoot your delivery date when possible. It’s better to over-deliver than be late.
3. Great Results
Fantastic designs will always help your situation. The client came for good results, and there is nothing better than giving it to them better than they expected.
Your first project is the most important with a client, but don’t forget about the second one. If you knock out two projects in a row, you are sure to have built a solid business relationship.
Neil Gaiman’s two out of three rule
As Neil states in his speech, you only need two factors out of three to please a client.
- Situation one. You don’t get along with the client. However, your work is on time and provides good results.
- Situation two. You are late for the project deadline. In closing, your work was awesome, and you are quite easy to get along with.
- Situation three. The client enjoys talking to you, and you are always on time. The bad thing is your work is not great although you operate with a lot of integrity.
Holding a high standard of business is something I always strive for, but I personally agree this theory holds ground in the freelance design world in cases where I’ve slipped.
What do you think?