There certain rules and codes of conduct in life. You don’t date a buddies ex nor do you show up to a party empty handed. Those are laws that most dudes understand and live by. There seem to be written and unwritten rules in every area of life.
In freelancing there are golden rules as well. There’s one that I really wanted to stress on today. This is a rule that I’ve been involved in on both sides of the spectrum.
What’s this golden rule of successful freelancing?
Make life easier for your clients.
You’re not getting paid to add stress. You’re getting paid to make life simpler and more enjoyable. Nobody cares about your problems or your stories. The second that someone pays you to perform a service, they expect you to begin working towards that goal.
When someone gives you the opportunity to work for them, they’re trusting you with their time and money. They’re paying you to perform a specific service. They’re not paying for no reason. Money isn’t easy to come by for anyone these days.
When you hire a personal trainer, you want to get in shape. You don’t care about anything else. You want your workout to go through smoothly at the agreed upon time. You want the trainer to work around your schedule. You don’t want to have to throw your life into disarray to attend a workout that you’re paying for.
When you hire an assistant, you want them to do the work. You don’t want to be inundated with more problems.
As a freelancer you have to make life much easier for your client so that they can justify paying you. Handing money over isn’t easy.
You have to do the work.
The reality is that nobody wants to hear your story. I’ll stress this over and over. Keep it to yourself! This doesn’t meant that your clients are cold individuals. They just have busy lives. They hired you to solve problems. Not to add problems.
How do you stay strong and stick to performing the work?
- Set strict hours for your freelancing work.
- Keep your drama separate.
- Simplify your life.
- Don’t take on more clients than you can handle.
- Give yourself time to rest.
That’s how you can do the work. When you do the work, you guarantee payment, future business, and hopefully referrals in the future. When you create stress or excuses, you might lose out on everything.
If you have a plethora of drama in your life (bad breakup, family turmoil, horrible sleeping patterns) then you really shouldn’t start freelancing yet. You need to ensure that everything you do is of high quality or else you’re wasting your time.
Why do something if you’re not going to do it right?
What are some examples of following this rule?
No matter what pops up, you have to be able to handle it. Your clients don’t want to hear about your stories. They also don’t want to be ditched.
I don’t want to brag about myself so I’ll write about others.
My friend is a tattoo artist. He works around every single clients schedule. He asks them when they’re free and he does everything in his power to be available at that specific time. He understands that they can easily take their business elsewhere if they don’t feel like they’re being catered to. Nobody wants to cater to someone else. He understands this.
I have another friend that writes freelancing articles. He simply asks for the topic and the deadline. He submits the articles. Nothing else. No excuses. Certainly no missed deadlines. How could you not want to work with someone like this?
What happens when this rule isn’t followed?
If you don’t solve problems and make life easier, you’ll suffer the following consequences:
- Lose the client.
- Won’t get the referral.
- Will struggle finding new clients.
All three options suck.
My mom tried working out with a personal trainer last year. She was connected with a lady that had been doing it for years and seemed like the perfect fit. However, this lady had all sorts of problems. You name it, she had it. Broken car. Bad telephone reception. Everything you could imagine.
That sucks. You’re paying for a workout. If you can’t meet your obligations, then don’t make them.
I also have my own negative experience with hiring a freelancer…
I hired someone to write for a new site that I was starting. All I asked was that they write one article per week, to be published first thing in the morning. Yet for one reason or another, this article never went up. I heard every single excuse. Sadly, I couldn’t handle this after a few weeks and let them go. I would never refer this person to anyone nor will I support them. We all want someone to make our lives easier. We don’t need the stress of worrying about a freelancer that can’t meet commitments.
While I’m sure that this person had valid reasons, they should’ve never taken on this new role in the first place. If you know that you can’t complete a task within a deadline or provide quality work, then don’t do it. Wait until your life is under control. Wait until you can make a strong reputation as a freelancer in your given field.
You owe it to yourself to not be a fool. Once you leave a foul taste in someone’s mouth they’ll always be hesitant. They either won’t give you another shot or they just will spread the negative word. Do you really want to lose a potential lead because of something that you did in the past? Probably not.
Moving forward I really hope that you make life easier for your clients! If I catch you adding stress, we’re going to have problems.
How would you feel if your favorite restaurant took an hour to prepare your simple meal? What if your housekeeper made an excuse every single week? You wouldn’t appreciate it.