The 4 Most Important Business Practices For A Freelance Professional

by WorkFromHome on January 8, 2012

Freelancing has become one of the largest growing segments of the employment sector and it is predicted to expand over the next decade. Professionals in every industry have discovered that freelancing is a good way to earn a steady paycheck, and businesses have discovered the practicality of hiring a specialist for a specific task instead of a full time employee that may not be able to produce the desired effect.

Internet and mobile device technologies have enabled freelancers and businesses to connect more easily and to interact with each other quickly. This has created the perfect atmosphere for freelancing, and at the same time, it has introduced many problems into the industry that were not felt when this industry was much smaller.

Freelancers must remember at all times that their own best interest must always come first. While this may seem contrary to the popular belief that the client must come first, there is a good reason for this attitude with the freelance industry. If the freelancer does not take care of their own interests, no one else will. Unlike being an employee, if you do not secure your payments, have contracts signed or enforce the terms of your contract, you will not get paid. If you are not getting paid, you cannot provide the service to the client or anyone else.

Of course customer satisfaction is a must; you should not misinterpret this advice. The point is that you must make sure that the contract you form with the client is mutually beneficial.

The Four Most Important Tools For A Freelancer

  1. Interview and First Meeting Preparation
    Many freelancers create a form for themselves to help them prepare to interview with a client. It is a way for you to research a client, establish a baseline knowledge of their industry, and help you anticipate what they will require of your services. One of the best ways to establish a good relationship with a client is coming into the initial interview well informed. When you are informed, it will be very hard for them to try and bargain on your rates.
  2. Create A Project Outline
    When you are interviewing a client about a project, it is important to gather as much information about the anticipated outcome of the project from the client before you start any work on the project. Again, many freelancers have forms made out that will allow them to ask specific questions to a client about the project, and easily record the answers. The more information you gather at this time, the less revision work you will have to do when the project is under way.
  3. The Contract
    In the past it was easy to make a verbal contract and have it honored. Today this is not recommended. Make sure that you have everything in writing about the project and that all terms are agreed upon by you and the client. In your contract you should agree to what the project entails, the amount of time anticipated to complete the project, and the amount of re-work you will perform at no cost and at cost. You will need to establish your billing rate, when you will bill for your services, and what will happen if the client fails to pay. It is also very important that you establish guidelines for changes to the project. You should also require a deposit for your services that becomes non-refundable after a specific amount of work is completed, regardless of final outcome. This is for your own protection.
  4. Billing Practices
    When you are a freelance professional you are solely responsible for collecting for your services. You must set aside a time each week to do your billing, regardless of any other obligations. It is a sad fact that many companies are taking longer to pay under the current economic conditions, and if you delay billing, you will also delay payment. If you are working on a project that is going to expand over a long period of time, make sure that you have set forth in your contract specific billing periods that coincide with different parts of the project. It is not recommended to wait until the project is completed to collect for the entire job.

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