I have been freelancing in design related work for the past 8 years, i have had my fair share of messing up my reputation and fails on projects i could not deliver on due to … well just being stupid about things. I have managed to start building trust within my clients and maintaining it as well and below are some strategies that have helped me stay on track and gain my clients trust as well as grow my referral prospects.
Be Honest – Be honest to yourself first about what you want to do, what you can do and what you enjoy doing. This will help you grow self confidence to take up to work you are good at and enjoy doing. When you do what you love and do well the results are much better because you pay closer attention to detail and become innovative in designing a solution.
Dont Take on what you cannot handle – We are often attracted by the size of the project especially the money part and despite us being able to deliver or not we usually take on the job without thinking it through. The reason bigger projects have bigger budgets is that, Companies expect morethan one person on the project, a team of experts doing different things. if you take on something you cannot deliver alone and not hire the right people to do the job then you are shooting yourself in the foot. You will not be able to deliver the right quality within the timelines and that is a fact. So bite on what you can chew and swallow. Be comfortable with saying no.
Take time to define your true clients : we all want to work with people that pay well if we can do what they are asking for, however character and culture also affects who your client is. you need to match and mirror with your client base. Define who you would like to work with not only who can pay you well but will enjoy working with and not get frustrated in the process. Frustration will cause friction between you and your client, hurting the project and your relationship with the client and your reputation in the industry because word moves fast.
Be comfortable to talk about money and your processes; Being open about how much you expect on a project is one of the biggest things ost freelancers are afraid of, thinking this will scare away clients and look like you are after money… Well yes you are after the money and that is why you are in that chair talking to the client so be comfortable to talk about your worth. Believe in what you do be confident to bid well so that you do not regret the small cash while you are working on an over-scoped project. Be upfront honest and define your process before hand. This is how you know if the project is real or not.
Communication is Paramount – Communication between you and your client before, during and after the project creates a sense of piece of mind with your client knowing that you are constantly accessible, provide frequent updates and raise issues when they come up on the project. Communication is the biggest part of creating trust with your client. Communicate, commit and deliver.
I have been using these principals to guide how i engage with my clients for the past year with great success measuring it by the feedback and referrals i have been getting from my clients allowing me to scale my business and strengthen my once broken reputation in the industry again.