Freelancers don’t get paid for sick days and vacation leave. They get paid when they work, so they have to work harder when they need to make more money. Sometimes, they don’t get paid at all. According to the information published by Freelancer Union, 71% of freelancers get scammed by clients.
Deborah Cowell, a freelance writer, shared her story: “In 2015, I agreed to do some editorial work for a client. The agreement was verbal and, because I trusted her to some extent, we did not have a contract. Shortly after I completed the agreed-upon work, she slightly altered the work I produced, claimed everything as her own intellectual property, and failed to pay the $500 she owes me.”
Whoa, we don’t want that to happen to you. As a freelancer, you know you have to check the reputation of a client before agreeing to work with them. However, if you want to work for clients with high reputation, you need some reputation of your own. How exactly do you become the flawless freelancer that would land safe and well-paying jobs? We have some tips that will help.
Be Like the Monk
When asking a monk how he resisted all temptations, he was pressed on how he couldn’t know he liked it unless he tried it first. He replied by saying, “I never need to resist, I do as I please.”
The monk was not saying he blocks himself from the world; he was saying that the “need” to resist doesn’t matter to him. How does this help you create a flawless freelancer reputation?
As a freelancer, you get tempted by distractions all the time. Then, you’re trying to find solutions that would help you to stay focused. Instead of reading advice about how you shouldn’t miss deadlines, you shouldn’t miss them in the first place. If the possibility of missing deadlines doesn’t exist for you, then you do not need to “resist” the urge to procrastinate or extend deadlines.
If this is a little too ambiguous for you and you would like it narrowed down, then stick to this principle above all else, “Do not ever say anything that you are not going to follow through.”
Have a schedule. Organize your days in the tiniest detail. When you’re working from home, you can take breaks at any time, but that doesn’t mean you should. Cover each task on your daily list, and then you can rest like a champ.
Don’t Make a Point of Keeping Your Promises
To address the wider issue, if you set out and you establish the reputation of a flawless freelancer (almost by nature), then your margins for error will shrink dramatically. As Warren Buffet said, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
When you make a contract with a client, you make a promise to deliver high-quality work. If you are not 100% sure you can do something you say you are going to do, then simply do not say it. Always check your schedule, and accept jobs you’re sure you can complete. It’s okay to accept challenges, but do not commit to complete a task you’re not qualified for.
Your Reputation Is a Weapon and a Shield
We all know that a person with a good reputation may be given the benefit of the doubt, and even though a reputation may be considered to be a shield in this way–it is a flimsy shield. You destroy your good name in the freelancing industry with very little effort. On the other hand, if you have a good reputation, it can help people trust you and trust is all a freelancer really has to go on.
Beware that your reputation can be held at ransom, and despite your strongest conviction, you must not allow this to happen.
Ebay and Yelp alone have shown us that people can be bullied with their reputation. People demand their money back on eBay for items they have received, and some people send the money because they are afraid of damaging their reputation. Restaurants run themselves ragged trying to cater to the worst customers, including giving free meals, because they are afraid of poor yelp reviews. You cannot allow this to happen to you.
Remember: freelancers, too, have the right to give feedback on the collaboration with a client. Before you agree to work for a new client, check the feedback other freelancers gave. If the client doesn’t have any public feedback, don’t agree to complete large tasks for them. Cover that task progressively, and ask for payments as you make progress.
When You Can’t Fight a Battle, Get Backup
Sigmund Freud once said: “If you can’t do it, give up!”
Let’s be honest: you will encounter an obstacle at one point or another. Some tasks seem simple when you agree to cover them, but then you understand they are more complex than you assume. Should you do what Freud recommended? Should you just give up? When you’re a freelancer who wants flawless feedback, it’s not that easy.
If your best is not good enough, then you put your entire reputation in danger just because you took a challenge that was too great. In cases like that, consider taking on help or passing the work to another freelancer in return for a similar favor in future, or for a fee.
Your Arrogance Will Hurt Your Feelings
Your clients are not always right, and you know it. Still, you have to treat them like they are right, since fighting with your clients is something that could definitely ruin your reputation.
However, there are times when they are going to complain about your work in a way that really ruffles your feathers. Even the AssignmentMasters writers have their mini tantrums when a piece of work is sent back for amendments because the customer didn’t clarify their expectations, and now they are claiming the writers didn’t deliver what they expected.
Understand that whether your work was perfect or imperfect, your ego is what will upset you. Stop being arrogant and understand that the reasons behind the work being sent back or the customer complaint is not “all” about you. The client may simply be angling for a discount, or may have communicated his or her requirements poorly. Try to fix the problem as well as you possibly could. That’s how you get flawless reputation.
It’s not easy to become the most respected freelancer in the crowd. It’s an on-going journey that requires strong character and a tamed ego. You have to pick the right clients, and you need to revise your work when they ask you to do that. Remember: your future clients are not interested in promises. They want to see what you’ve already done. If they like it, you’ll get the job. As Henry Ford said, “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.”