Tag Archives: Freelancers

Build Trust and be a Successful Freelancer

Business tips from the Ascentive team

When it comes to being a successful freelancer, the most important thing you need to do is to inspire trust in your current and potential employers. Every interaction your have with employers can increase – or decrease – their trust in you. If you’re not careful, something as seemingly minor as taking too long to respond to an email can make you appear less dependable to an employer.

Being a freelancer who is responsive, pleasant, engaged, and meets expectations, is the key to acquiring more (and better paying) work. So how does one go about becoming a trustworthy freelancer? Start by following these principles:


Make Great First Impressions

Your first communications with potential employers are crucial in creating a high level of trust. Make every effort to appear intelligent, eager and on time. Always reread your email drafts aloud and use a spell-checker before you send them off. If you’re not communicating in your native language, make the extra effort to have a friend proofread your communications.

Don’t Lie about your Skillset

Always be honest about your skillset.  If you disappoint your employer when called upon to use your stated skills, you’ll never get a chance to demonstrate your real value. This is especially important when it comes to language skills.

Know the Big Picture

Always learn an employer’s business and their specific goals.  Employers trust freelancers who care about the big picture and understand their priorities.

Make your Deadlines

Without a doubt, there’s nothing’s more important than meeting your deadlines. In addition to hitting your dates, always be available for communication on the agreed days and times, and deliver the quality that you promised.

Document your Processes

Always document your process and record why you completed a task a certain way. This explains to your employer why you determined that process A was better than B and reinforces their trust in you.

Save your Employer Money

Anything you do that brings your contract work in under budget will help establish your integrity and your respect for the employer’s resources. That isn’t to say you should lower your own cost so much you can’t actually make a living; but if you have to make a choice that has a financial impact on your employer, try to choose the option that’s the least expensive.

Admit your mistakes and fix them

In the event that you’ve turned in your work and the employer isn’t happy, submit a second pass. Better yet, build a second pass into your delivery schedule on all major projects.

Follow up

Always check in with a quick email after you’ve delivered your work. This shows that you’re concerned with client satisfaction and will encourage them to hire you in the future.

Five Warning Signs for Freelancers

From the Finally Fast help desk:

In an ever-turbulent economy, more Americans are turning to freelancing to help them get by. But freelancers have to be careful when taking on work, as employers have the potential to exploit them, or conduct themselves in ways that can be costly to freelancers. If you’re thinking of giving freelancing a try, be on the lookout for these five warning signs when dealing with employers.

1) Employers who only Communicate by Phone:
Employers who prefer to communicate by phone certainly mean no harm toward freelancers, but those phone bills can be rather costly, and items may get missed in the conversation that need to be addressed. If an employer will only communicate with you by phone, be sure that they cover the cost for the calls. If they won’t agree to this, suggest that you conduct your calls on Skype. Skype allows you to make free Skype-to-Skype calls worldwide. In addition to being the most popular VOIP app in the world, Skype also allows you to make calls to regular phones with inexpensive international phone call rates.

2) Free Samples:
Another Employer behavior to watch out for is free sample requests. Although an employer may request a sample if your portfolio doesn’t cover the type of work that’s being offered, a free sample is a bad idea. Creating samples takes time, and if you don’t get the job, your time has just been wasted. Ask the employer to pay half price. And be sure to keep a copy of the requested sample for your work portfolio.

3) More Work, Less Pay:
Occasionally an employer will promise a freelancer more work for a reduced rate. This is only worth your time if you can actually survive financially working at this reduced rate, and the employer signs an agreement guaranteeing the full amount of the work that’s been promised. Otherwise, the employer can just walk away after having you complete a single job way below your regular rate.

4) Bad Feedback:
When reviewing employers on a freelance site such as Guru or Elance, be sure to check the feedback from other freelancers. Although anyone can be the victim of false feedback, the employer should be avoided if their feedback is consistently awful.

5) Endless Revisions:
Finally, when negotiating terms with an employer for a fixed price job, be sure to agree upon a set number of revisions. An excessive amount of revisions will force you to work for a longer duration than the job was originally worth, wasting time that you need to spend on finding new work. If the employer won’t agree to a set number of revisions for the work, switch the terms from a fixed price to an hourly rate so you will be properly compensated for your time.