1) Start Out with Small Steps
Freelancing is an opportunity for many to transition from the typical 9-5 job to an income stream that is based on their own efforts and schedule. Working as freelance is a great way to increase your financial freedom while having the ability to determine your own income. Although the idea of being a freelancer may seem daunting, it can in fact be very satisfying and lucrative when you break it down into small steps. Below, we will explore how to start out with small steps for freelancing.
Identify Your Strengths
Before you even begin looking for freelance positions or clients, you should take the time to assess your current skills and identify your strengths. This is important because it can help you to decide which type of freelancing is the best fit for you. For instance, if you’re strong in developing software, you may want to pursue freelance jobs that involve coding and software development. Likewise, if you’re good at writing and have an interest in marketing, you may want to look for freelance copywriting and digital marketing jobs. Whatever you decide to pursue, this identification of your strengths is key to finding clients and jobs that are the best fit for you.
Make Sure Your Goals Are Realistic
Once you’ve identified your strengths, it is important to have a realistic view of how you want to pursue freelancing. It’s always important to have goals and an idea of your desired income and number of hours worked, but it is also important to be realistic when it comes to your expectations. Many new freelancers make the mistake of expecting too much too soon. This can lead to disappointment, frustration, and even burnout.
It is helpful to start by setting achievable goals to measure your success and to give yourself something to reach for. For example, setting a goal to earn a certain amount of money in a period of time, or to work a certain number of hours each week, can help to ensure that you are being realistic and building a freelance career that is sustainable.
Adapt Your Skill Set To The Market
As a freelancer, you will need to be willing to adjust your focus based on market demand. As new technologies and platforms emerge, you will need to set aside some time to research and develop the skills necessary to work on those platforms. While it is important to stay aligned with your core strengths, it is also necessary to be competent and knowledgeable when it comes to freelance jobs that require a specific skill set.
Also, as a freelancer, you should be willing to take on tasks that may not fall solidly within your comfort zone. This will help to ensure that you can offer a diverse portfolio of services to potential clients. For example, if you have experience in web design, you may want to also offer mobile app development for a more comprehensive package.
Be Frugal With Your Resources
When you first begin to freelance, it is important to be mindful of how you use your resources. This includes your money, time, and energy. Because you will be working on your own, you won’t have an employer to cover your expenses or provide resources to you. This means that you need to be smart and frugal when it comes to your investments.
When it comes to finances, you should always be sure to save and limit your spending to what is necessary. This is especially true when it comes to business expenses. Some freelancers make the mistake of overspending on tools and services they don’t need, and then they quickly realize that they don’t have enough left to cover business costs such as taxes or software licenses.
With regards to time and energy, it is important to be disciplined and efficient when it comes to getting tasks done. Because you are working for yourself, it can be tempting to procrastinate and fill your time with activities that do not contribute to your bottom line. However, it is important to be aware of this and to dedicate resources to tasks that will move your business forward.
Seek Help From Experienced Freelancers
Finally, one of the best ways to get a jumpstart on your freelancing career is to get advice from experienced freelancers who have been in the trenches and have achieved success. By seeking mentorship and advice from veteran freelancers, you can avoid many of the common pitfalls of freelancing and increase your chances of finding long-term success.
You can connect with other freelancers in your area, or use online freelance forums to ask questions and learn from their experiences. You can also look for freelance jobs and gigs that are offered through these online portals, which can give you access to experienced freelancers that you can learn from.
No matter what you decide to pursue, it is essential to remember that success as a freelancer takes time, dedication, and hard work. By taking the time to assess your strengths and goals, adapting your skill set to the market, being frugal with your resources, and seeking help from experienced freelancers, you can start off with small steps and build a successful freelance career.
2) Set Realistic Schedules
Freelancing can be daunting for many people, as it requires that individuals put in the necessary work and dedication to manage their own schedule and tailor it to the constantly shifting demands of their clients. If not managed properly, this could lead to stress, burnout, and eventual stagnation. This is why setting realistic schedules for freelancing is essential for anyone looking to make a career out of this profession.
A realistic schedule involves understanding your own capabilities and actively seeking ways to optimize your workflow. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses and understanding the tasks, assignments, and project deadlines you’re expected to meet will both provide you with a comprehensive picture of how to best manage your workload.
Creating a Plan and Establishing Goals
One of the first steps to establishing a realistic sequence of tasks and objectives is to create a plan that acts as a framework for obtaining specific goals. These goals can be anything from getting started on a project to completing tasks within a given time frame.
No matter what your goals are, it’s important to write them down so that you can measure your progress. Writing down your plans and goals creates a visual aid that allows you to see how far you have progressed or how far you still need to go. With a plan written down, it’s much easier to track and adjust your goals as needed to keep up with the demands of the job.
Understanding & Utilizing Scheduling Tools
In today’s world, there are several tools and applications that can assist freelancers in managing their schedules. These tools range from scheduling management apps like Trello and Asana to more basic calendar and project organization tools like Google Calendar and Wunderlist.
Using these tools not only allows you to be more organized and efficient, but it also provides you with a clear overview of your tasks and objectives, which can help you make better decisions when it comes to delegating responsibilities, setting deadlines, and assessing progress.
When it comes to setting and managing realistic schedules, time management is key. Start by asking yourself questions such as:
• How long will it take to complete a specific task?
• How much time do I have available to dedicate to each task?
• What is the most optimal time of day to complete a task?
• How can I create a schedule that balances my client’s needs with a healthy work/life balance?
Answers to these questions will help you make better decisions when it comes to understanding the importance of each task and delegating the necessary resources and time to complete those tasks.
For instance, if you’re working on a project for a client, you should account for necessary time to research the topic, compile notes, and draft your work. You should also consider necessary breaks to ensure you’re always at your best mental capacity.
For the majority of freelancers, distractions are inevitable. Despite being self-employed, it can be difficult to stay on task when faced with the constant barrage of notifications from social media, emails, and phone calls.
There are several ways to manage distractions and keep your attention focused on the task at hand.
• Turn off notifications
• Take frequent breaks
• Diversify tasks
Each of these strategies can help to minimize distractions and enable you to create and stick to a realistic freelance schedule.
When it comes to managing a realistic schedule, organization is essential. It’s important to dedicate a specific amount of time each day to organizing your workspace and ensuring that all tasks are accounted for and able to be tracked. Additionally, creating a ‘To-Do’ list can provide an easy-to-follow breakdown of each item that needs to be completed within a given time frame.
By using a combination of the strategies mentioned above, it’s possible to develop a personal system that will help you prioritize, manage, and complete tasks in a timely and efficient manner. Setting realistic schedules is key for freelancers, as it allows them to make the most of their time and resources and ultimately, increase their satisfaction with their work.
3) Choose Target Markets Wisely
Freelancing is becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to traditional job roles. It can be more fulfilling for some people and provides a great opportunity to make a steady income. But, it’s important to make sure your freelance business is successful by carefully picking a target market.
Your target market is the group of people who you will market your services to. It’s important to take your time when choosing a target market as this decision can make or break your success as a freelancer. Here are some tips to help you select the right target market for your freelance career.
Understand Your Niche
Before you begin marketing your services, it’s important to really understand the niche you have chosen. Take some time to research the type of work you want to do, the people within the industry, and what the current trends are. Doing this will help you better understand which target markets are best for you and your services.
It’s essential to be specific about who you are targeting. The more specific you can be, the easier it will be to tailor your services and marketing materials to certain groups of people. Being specific allows you to hone in on the type of customers you want to attract and determine the best way to target them.
Think About Your Goals
Before deciding on a target market, think about your goals and how they may be affected by the target market you choose. It’s important to keep the bigger picture in mind and choose a target market that is most likely to help you reach your goals. This could include anything from working with larger clients to expanding your services.
It is important to keep an open mind when making decisions about who you want to target and where you want to market services. It’s easy to be confined to a certain industry or geographical area, but by expanding your reach, you can potentially increase your reach and find new customers.
Focus On Quality Over Quantity
When choosing a target market, it’s important to always focus on quality over quantity. Don’t worry about the number of clients you have, but instead focus on providing quality services to each client. By focusing on quality over quantity, you can build lasting relationships with clients and provide better services in the long run.
Familiarizing yourself with competitors within the target market is also important. Researching the competition can help you to not only understand the industry better, but it can also give you an edge when it comes to marketing your services. You can use this knowledge to differentiate yourself and stand out from the competition.
Stay Up To Date
Finally, it’s important to regularly stay up to date on trends within the target market you have chosen. Staying current is essential in today’s ever-changing world, as trends and consumer tastes can change quickly. Engaging with industry publications, attending events, and keeping an eye on social media can help you stay on top of these changes.
Selecting a target market is an important decision for any freelancer. It’s important to take your time and choose the right target market for your services. By understanding your niche, being specific, keeping your goals in mind, being open-minded, focusing on quality over quantity, researching the competition, and staying up to date, you can choose the right target market for success. By focusing on these aspects, you can create a profitable freelance career.
4) Take Safety Precautions
According to the Freelance Union’s 2017 report, 57 million people in the United States are freelancing—that’s 35% of the U.S. workforce. From the solo blogger, to the graphic designer, to the medical transcriptionist, freelancers come from all fields and backgrounds, each creating their own self-sustaining business. And while the burgeoning freelance community is a positive sign of economic health, all this autonomy carries with it certain risks.
As more people jump into the freelance pool, freelancers face the challenge of setting up their business, a task that often boils down to managing risk—especially when those who work without deadlines, supervisors, and risk management mechanisms of corporate jobs.
However, thanks to the introduction of different tools at our disposal today, it’s now easier than ever to protect oneself as a freelancer. Here are some great tips on how to take safety precautions while freelancing.
Utilize Your Network
Networking is an important part of doing business as a freelancer. Using your network is not only great for growing your client base, but it’s also an amazing way to protect yourself and your business. By getting references from trusted sources, you can ensure that you’re only taking on clients who will treat you fairly and have your best interests in mind.
Engage in Good Client Connections
Once you have your networks in place, start engaging with potential clients in a thoughtful, professional manner. Use your client connections to assess the risk level of any potential contract before agreeing to it. Ask the right questions, read the contract in detail, and be sure to communicate any specifics that you find important. Understanding the situation up front can help you to set up important financial boundaries and protect yourself from potentially dangerous situations.
Have a Systematic Approach to Payments
There are a plethora of payment options available today- from credit cards to bank transfers, PayPal to Apple Pay, there is no shortage of financial options on today’s market. Develop a strategy to make sure your clients are paying on time, every time. Consider setting up automatic payments or transaction statuses or even leverage the outside help of an accountant or payment partner.
Use Multiple Liability Insurance Types
Liability insurance is essential for protecting yourself from financial loss due to legal action taken against you by a third-party. Research different types of liability insurance from your lawyer or insurance specialist, such as Professional Liability Insurance (for professionals providing services) or Commercial General Liability Insurance (for professionals working in certain industries). Some of these policies can be inexpensive or even free.
Stay Up to Date on Communication Ethics
Regardless of the messaging platform, there are ways to stay professional while setting yourself up for success. Understand and abide by the communication guidelines set forth by the platform, be it email, text, instant messaging, or social media. Examine the rules set forth by the platform, take care to avoid posting inflammatory comments, and keep a positive attitude regardless of conversation topics.
How you document both transactions and communication channels can make all the difference in legal proceedings. Whenever possible, document your written and verbal conversations, and make sure all agreements are reduced to writing and properly signed. If a freelancer-client relationship goes sour or ends abruptly, having these documents on hand can save you a lot of legal and financial headaches.
Back Up Your Data
The data you use to run your business should be backed up. From protecting your privacy to ensuring you don’t lose work, creating data backups regularly is a must for any freelancer. The backup process should include creating copies of your database, storing important documents, and saving backup copies of your computer’s firmware.
If backing up all your data to external hard drives or storage systems isn’t realistic for you, then consider using an online backup service like Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, Amazon Drive, or CrashPlan.
Follow Local and Federal Regulations
In the United States, freelancers should familiarize themselves with state and federal business laws and regulations, including those specific to taxation, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation. Different states may have slightly different laws that a freelancer must be aware of and follow. Also, register your business with the proper state and local organizations, such as the Department of Labor, and make sure to take advantage of all available financial resources.
Seek Legal Advice
This is perhaps the single most important factor when it comes to taking safety precautions as a freelancer. Before taking on any gig, always make sure to seek out the advice of a knowledgeable lawyer or specialized business consultant who can guide you through any and all legal issues. They can assist you in developing binding contracts, devising financial plans, and evaluating potential risk factors.
Freelancing is an amazing tool for building a life and career on your own terms. With the right safety precautions and network in place, a freelancer can protect themselves from potential hazards and put the focus back where it belongs—on the work. With a bit of risk management, preparation, and savvy decision-making, freelancers can thrive in this ever-evolving landscape.
5) Respond to Clients Quickly
Freelancing is a fantastic way to make your own money and open new doors of opportunity. Being an independent contractor means that it’s up to you to keep clients happy and provide quality work. One of the most important and overlooked aspects of freelancing is ensuring you respond to clients quickly.
Every freelancer has experienced the dreaded scenario of missing a client’s phone call, or worse yet, taking forever to respond to an email. This can be a huge mistake, and it’s important to keep client communication to a high standard if you want to stay competitive.
So, why is responding to clients quickly so important for freelancing?
1. Improved Professionalism
When you respond to clients quickly, it shows that you’re taking their business seriously. Responding to inquiries in a timely manner also gives customers peace of mind that you won’t forget about them. Furthermore, responding quickly allows you to establish yourself as an organized, capable professional, which can only help your career in the long run.
2. Good Brand Image
When clients trust in your ability to respond quickly and professionally, it reflects positively on your brand. The world of freelancing is becoming increasingly competitive, and a good brand image is integral to staying afloat.
3. Opportunity for Follow-Ups
When clients know they can rely on you to be punctual, they’ll be much more likely to come back to you for their future projects. Responding quickly is also a great opportunity to upsell your services, or keep clients informed of any changes or new products you may have available.
4. Timely Payment
People who don’t respond promptly are often viewed as being unreliable, and clients might be tempted to delay payment if they perceive you to be untrustworthly. On the other hand, if you’re prompt with your responses, clients will be more likely to pay you on time.
5. Improved Job Satisfaction
When you make the effort to communicate with clients quickly and efficiently, you’re more likely to experience a higher level of job satisfaction. Although it can be difficult to stay on top of your inbox, the results you get from responding quickly are worth it.
Tips for Responding Quickly to Clients
Responding quickly to clients is essential to success as a freelancer, so here are some tips:
1. Set up an Automated Email
In order to respond quickly to clients without having to manually respond to every email that lands in your inbox, set up an automated email. This allows you to set a template that can be sent out to clients without having to create a new email every time.
2. Manage Your Inbox
When you take too long to respond to messages, it often comes down to not managing your inbox well. Simply sorting emails by sender and organizing them into folders will help you quickly locate the messages you need.
3. Set Clear Expectations
Let clients know when to expect a response from you. This will help them feel more comfortable if they don’t hear from you right away. You can do this in your automated responses or create a page on your website that outlines your response time.
If you’re overstretched with other tasks, consider outsourcing some of the workload. This could be anything from creating content to managing your social media accounts. Hiring a virtual assistant will free up your time so you can focus on responding to messages.
5. Use Software and Tools
There are a variety of software and tools that can help you respond quickly to clients. Look for something that can automate the process and help streamline your workflow.
Freelancers need to be able to keep up with client inquiries in order to stay competitive. Responding quickly is essential, as it shows professionalism, boosts your brand image, creates the opportunity for follow-up sales, ensures timely payments, and can lead to an improved level of job satisfaction. For best results, consider setting up an automated response, managing your inbox, setting expectations, outsourcing work, and using the right software and tools. Ultimately, responding quickly to clients is key to success in freelancing.
6) Get Feedback from Clients
The life of a freelancer can be a lonely one. Especially for those freelancers who tackle projects on their own and don’t have contact with clients throughout the completion process. The communication between an independent contractor and their customer is key for many reasons, such as developing a better working relationship, growing in skill, and gaining feedback that could help improve your freelance business.
Getting feedback from clients can be difficult, especially if you are dealing with demanding customers or ones who don’t know what they are looking for. Requests and demands can turn into a one-sided relationship, where all the power and control lies in the hands of the client.
Because of this, freelancers need to take proactive steps to combat the power imbalance. Learning how to get feedback from clients and establishing guidelines should be prioritized when communicating with clients.
To ensure your feedback from clients is both positive and helpful, here are actionable tips and strategies that you can use.
Set Clear Expectations
The first step for gathering feedback from clients is to set expectations. Setting expectations helps to define the scope of the project, prevents scope creep, and establishes guidelines for both the client and the freelancer.
You should create a schedule with the task assigned to each party. This ensures that everyone knows what they are responsible for and can plan accordingly. Additionally, it provides a measure of completion when the score is due and helps to prevent hold-ups or delays.
Outline any necessary resources, such as graphics, images, and tools, as well as when feedback should be provided to avoid misunderstandings or conflicts.
Communicate Openly and Regularly
Communication throughout the project is the backbone of customer feedback. It allows both parties to clarify any questions or concerns that may arise and learn from past mistakes. Communication also serves as a way to quickly adapt to changes.
When communicating with clients, it’s important to take notes and provide consistent updates. Additionally, be sure to ask questions when needed and include helpful comments about your progress and any challenges that you’re facing.
You should also respond to client messages within a timely manner, as delays can cause clients to become frustrated or uncertain whether you can complete the project.
Set Up an Evaluation Process
When you’re nearing the end of a project, you should set up a formal evaluation process. This should include questions that are geared towards the overall satisfaction of the customer and helps to identify any issues or areas of improvement.
You should use multiple methods for obtaining customer feedback, such as emails and surveys. Additionally, you might consider setting up an in-person meeting with the client to better understand their expectations and needs.
When collecting feedback from clients, you should be sure to check in with them and provide timely responses to avoid bottlenecks and delays. You should also be aware of their biases, and make sure to ask your client questions that are relevant to the project.
Use Productive Criticism
When getting feedback from customers and clients, it’s important to use productive criticism. While it’s not always easy to hear criticism, it’s important to take it in stride and use it as a learning experience.
When taking criticism, you should ask questions to be sure that you understand the problem and approach it in a constructive and collaborative manner. Many times the issue can be quickly solved, or it can provide you with insight into how to approach your work and job differently.
Additionally, you can use consumer feedback to highlight areas of expertise and demonstrate how your skill set can further benefit them.
Be Proactive in Gathering Feedback
The best way to ensure that you get feedback from customers is to be proactive. Reach out to clients with surveys, emails, and thank-you notes to request feedback on their experience with your work.
Make sure to ask both positive and negative questions, such as what could have been done better or what they liked most about the project, to gain an understanding of where you can improve and what areas you excelled in.
Additionally, you can host a webinar or event where clients have the opportunity to give feedback and suggest future collaboration.
Be Open to Change
The most important point to remember when seeking feedback is that customers’ opinions always matter. It’s important to remain open to change and be willing to adjust your working process to better meet the customer’s needs.
Even if their suggestions don’t align with your vision, consider it a way to grow your skills and come out of this experience as an even better freelancer. Feedback from clients can be invaluable for understanding customer demographics and perspective, so be sure to use it to your advantage.
Getting feedback from clients is essential for any freelancer. It provides an understanding into customer’s expectations and helps to foster a stronger working relationship. To gain feedback from clients, it’s important to set clear expectations, communicate openly and regularly, evaluate progress throughout the process, use productive criticism, and remain open to change.
When gathering feedback, be sure to have a plan and set specific goals. Additionally, be sure to ask questions that are pertinent to the project and provide timely responses. When implemented correctly, feedback from customers can help to elevate your freelance business.
7) Learn to Balance Work & Play
Being a freelancer is a wonderful opportunity to be your own boss and set your own terms, as you take on projects from different employers or clients. However, there is an inherent danger of getting carried away with this newfound freedom. There is a balance to be achieved between work and play, and it is necessary to be in control of that balance.
One important aspect of successful freelancing is learning to effectively manage your time and find that equilibrium between work and leisure. Many freelancers allow work to consume them completely, and this is highly undesirable. Here, we suggest how you can do just that – balance work, and create time for enjoyment and leisure activities.
Ensure You Get Ample Rest
If you don’t rest enough, your productivity will suffer. You need to get enough sleep each night, or you could suffer from fatigue and exhaustion, leading to a significant drop in productivity. Additionally, if you are suffering from sleep-deprivation, research has shown that your mental wellbeing levels also get adversely affected.
The importance of adequate rest can’t be underestimated. To truly make the most of your sleeping time, try to plan your days where in you allocate an appropriate amount of time to rest or sleep. That way, you can be sure you won’t be missing out on any important aspects of your day.
Set Boundaries For What Is Acceptable
The more you are in control of your own life, the easier it is to balance work and play. For example, rather than just taking on any job that comes your way, you could be more selective and only engage with projects that truly interest you.
Also, think carefully about how much you want to work in any given week. Have an internal dialogue with yourself that helps you decide how much is too little, or too much work; rather than just taking what is offered. By maintaining reasonable boundaries for work, you will be better able to balance work and play.
Take On Less In Terms of Work Volume
One great way to avoid one-dimensional home-working and freelancing is to take on fewer projects. When you are taking on fewer jobs, it allows you to focus on each one more effectively, instead of trying to do multiple jobs or tasks simultaneously.
With fewer tasks and responsibilities, you will also have more time to direct towards leisure activities. That way, you can really make sure that your life is not all work, but also has some recreational activities and leisure component.
Make Time For Your Social Life
Freelancing can often bring with it the feeling of loneliness, particularly when it involves spending a lot of time alone in an office environment. It is very important to counter this potential sense of isolation by consciously making time for your social life.
This could involve seeing family and friends, going out to dinner and the cinema, or just attending social events. All of these activities can allow you to release stress as well as better recharging your mind and body.
Plan Your Meals
It is easy for freelancers to eat whatever is expedient. Usually, this would involve fast food or takeaway, but this is the wrong approach. Eating healthy is important for your wellbeing, and having a good diet helps maintain energy levels which could otherwise suffer from working too much.
Planning your meals in advance makes it easier to pick healthy options, without feeling deprived of the leisure activities. You can plan to have home-cooked meals or even pre-prepared, healthy options that you can heat up in minutes.
Control Your Digital Habits
Many freelancers are now more digitally connected than ever. While technology can certainly provide great opportunities for work, it’s easy to get so lost in your digital life that you forget to take time to enjoy the real world.
Learning to unburden yourself from your digital habits is beneficial. This could simply involve switching off your devices periodically, and engaging yourself in other activities. For example, you could arrange an outdoor activity, or plan an art class, or even just read a book, anything that encourages engaging away from screens.
Focus On Outcomes Rather Than Time Spent
Many freelancers make the mistake of prioritizing time spent over outputs or outcomes. It is far more efficient to focus on delivering the project to the desired result, rather than just spending a long time on it.
It is important to really understand your objectives, and not focus solely on the time you spend on completing the tasks at hand. Of course, that doesn’t mean be reckless or careless, but just to focus on the end result. Doing this will leave you with more time that you can spend on leisure activities.
Schedule Time For Fun
Take some time to plan you leisure activities. Schedule time in the week where you set aside time to partake in leisurely activities and follow through on it. Choose activities that you enjoy and make the most of it. This will ensure that you don’t mistake free time for lazy days, but that you use it for relaxed and enjoyable activities.
Set Your Own Hours So You Can Work Effectively and Enjoyably
When you are a freelancer, you may tend to overwork yourself due to the lack of structure that comes with the job. However, it is vital to learn to set your own hours of work. Scheduling your own hours can help you in getting more productive while at the same time, giving you enough times to play and enjoy life.
If you set your own hours, you’ll increase the chances of getting more work done, as well as feeling more balanced and energized. Additionally, setting your own hours reduce the number of tasks you should face (from an employer), so that you can use the free hours to rest and unwind, or to partake in enjoyable activities.
Make Separate Time For Work & Play
Balancing work and play involves conscious effort – you need to make sure that both aspects of your life have equal importance. You can do this by scheduling your time so that you dedicate a specific number of hours for work and for leisure activities.
This approach allows you to retain focus and energy, with enough time for play. You can also set breaks in-between periods of intense work, allowing you to rest or engage in other enjoyable activities. Doing this will help you maintain an optimal work-life balance.
Having the freedom to work from home can be both a blessing and a curse. It allows you to create your own schedule and be more productive, but it can also lead to workaholism, with no time for enjoyable activities. To avoid this common pitfall, it is essential to learn to balance work and leisure, so as to stay fresh and energized continually.
By following the tips mentioned here, you can become a more balanced freelancer.When you take the time to engage in enjoyable activities, you will find that it recharges and revitalizes you, leading to improved productivity and efficiency at work.
8) Avoid Scope Creep
Scope creep can be a freelancer’s worst enemy. It is the phenomenon where requests and tasks arise outside of the specified scope of the project, causing it to become bigger than originally envisioned. While the added tasks may not be insurmountable per se, they can take up valuable time and resources, and can lead to late deliveries, frustration and poor customer satisfaction. Here are some tips for avoiding scope creep and operating as efficiently as possible.
Set Clear Expectations
The most effective way to prevent scope creep is to set clear expectations from the beginning. This involves having a complete, detailed agreement drawn up before beginning work. Get as many details as possible related to the project, like the timeline, budget, deliverables, and anything else the client might expect. If a client is not willing to provide sufficient detail, then additional questions need to be asked to ensure expectations are aligned.
Lay Out a Project Plan
A project plan ensures that all tasks are laid out, and provides structure and direction throughout the project. It should describe in detail what is expected of the project, and when each task should be completed. The plan should then be shared with the client, so they can understand what needs to be done and when. This will ensure that the client has a clear understanding of the scope of the project, and that additional tasks are not added without authorization.
Run Agile Meetings
Agile meetings are regularly scheduled meetings that help keep track of the project’s progress and timeline. Agile meetings are a great way to keep the client up to date on the progress of the project, and to make sure that everyone is in agreement about what needs to be done and when. This is a good opportunity for the freelancer to get on the same page as the client and discuss any expectations the client may have that are outside the scope of the project.
Manage the Client’s Expectations
It is important to make sure that the client understands that additional requests may require an increase in budget or timeline in order to be fulfilled. A well-managed client relationship will help ensure that expectations are managed and that the project is completed in a satisfactory manner.
Every project should have updated, well-kept records of project progress and tasks. This can be in the form of notes, emails, or even a project management tool. These documents should be thorough, containing all the details of the project, so there is no confusion down the line if questions or issues arise.
Be Firm but Flexible
Most of all, a freelancer has to be firm with the client but also flexible enough to accommodate reasonable changes to the project. A good freelancer will be able to quickly assess how the addition of a task may affect the project budget and timeline, and then adjust accordingly. This helps maintain the balance between delivering a quality product and staying on schedule.
Scope creep is a real threat for freelancers, but by setting clear expectations, laying out a project plan, running agile meetings, managing the client’s expectations, creating documentation, and being firm but flexible, it can be avoided and the project can be delivered on time and within budget.