You probably thought that entering the freelancing realm would give you more freedom with your career. Truth is, this domain is where liberty goes to die. The fine line between personal time and official work hours is gone. Since people think you’re constantly on a vacation, they tend to ask you to do favors for them. Oh, and remember the work security you once had? Well, it is now as solid as a school canteen Jell-O. There are tons of unspoken rules you need to follow to ensure that you will still wake up with a project in your hands.
Even so, there’s no need to be a sourpuss! Of course, there are still many good reasons to stay in this industry. You can take a day or days off any time you want. What’s more, you can find projects that work best for you and you even get to dictate how much you can earn. Since you are practically your own boss, you also get to decide where to steer your career ship. One of the great things about freelancing it allows you to take risks. There’s a 50% chance that things will go south, but there’s also a 50% possibility that you will get exactly what you want.
Freelancing is a never-ending adventure that plays well for people who thrive in a dynamic environment. Speaking of unspoken rules, you also have the freedom to bend them to your favor. Times are changing and freelancing is starting to get traction. Since more and more people are becoming aware of how telecommuting works, it is the perfect time to revisit some of these existing unspoken rules. So, what are these dated freelancer taboos you should break?
Asking for a Tip/Bonus
Ideally, you should wait for your client to give you a bonus after completing a job. However, if they do not even have the time to sit through a cup of coffee, the thought of tipping you won’t likely cross their mind. So, if you’ve done an excellent job, it is absolutely fine to bring up the idea of extra compensation.
Muster up some courage and ask for what you’re worth. In the freelance world, only go-getters hit a home run. Once you’ve completed the project, highlight everything you’ve achieved for your client. Of course, you should be careful not to sound like you’re bragging. Then, smoothly transition to your bonus. If this is too daring for you, a better option would be to offer competitive fees upfront. Make sure that your rate will compensate for the quality of work you will produce.
Having Two Full-Time Projects
As a freelancer, you do not have to work like a horse! You just need to work smart. Now, there are still some limitations to juggling multiple projects in your hands. For instance, the unspoken rule is that when you’re accepting several job offers, all of them should be on a part-time basis. That said, if your productivity is on a completely different level, there’s nothing wrong with handling more than one full-time project.
Got extra bucks to spare? Well, hire a virtual assistant! They can help you organize your meetings and get some load off your shoulders. If you’re worried about spending unnecessary project budget on your VA, you can let them use time tracking software like Traqq. There are so many ways to ensure that you’ll generate excellent results for your two full-time projects. As a freelancer, you are not tied to the prison cell you call your office cubicle. Your work hours are flexible, and as long as you get the job done perfectly, you are free to take on more challenges.
Working with a Former Client
If the grass is greener on the other side, it’s only reasonable to climb over the fence. That said, you do not have to worry about being labeled as a persona non grata or a traitor when you move on to other projects. Your client will understand that they are better off when they allow you to take charge of your career.
While you’re gleefully strutting on the yellow brick road of freelancing, you may find yourself reopening a door you’ve closed before. If you were still in the corporate world, you’d have to deal with the stigma of returning to your old company. Well, that doesn’t necessarily have to happen now that you’re in the freelancing realm.
Don’t bring out your inner Taylor Swift yet and sing, “We are never, ever, ever getting back together!” Since you’re loaded with new skills and experience, you may be able to negotiate a higher fee. It will be an exciting experience to share what you’ve learned from your other projects. Your former client will certainly appreciate the fresh ideas you’ll bring to the table.
Outsourcing Freelance Work
No matter what industry you’re in, there will always be more work to do than the time to complete it. Keep in mind that there is only so much you can take before you begin to burn out. If you’re dealing with more projects than you can handle, you’re probably not giving each of them your all. Of course, that will reflect in the quality of your output.
Before you raise a white flag, rid yourself of your possessions, and go on a quest to ‘The Magic Bus’ in Alaska, you should consider outsourcing. Hiring other people to do some of your work is not a bad practice. You simply need to ensure that you’re working with a professional who can deliver the same level of results as yours. You can even get a cut of the fee and act as an editor or proofreader. Doing so will guarantee the quality of your subcontractor’s work.
It is natural for anyone in the freelance business to become a ‘Yes’ person. The competition is stiff and you may find yourself bending over backwards just to win clients. After all, pleasing them at every turn will increase your chances of securing better-paying projects in the future. That said, don’t go too deep into that rabbit hole. You would not want to get out of the other side transformed into a robot.
It can be difficult to say ‘no’ to some requests. These are gray areas that may cause you to reconsider your decision. For instance, your client may allow you to go on a vacation, but the caveat is they are free to contact you anytime you need them. Is this a ‘yes’ or a hard pass? Well, the answer is totally up to you. That said, there are some requests that you should say ‘No’ to every time.
Here they are:
– Late Payment
Newbies are the common victims of this trap. Oh, so your client only has good words for your output.
“But my client seems sincere and they’re so friendly!”
No matter how you believe this to be true, you cannot rely on their promise alone. It is worth noting that several freelancers have ended up never getting paid that way. If your clients are hesitant to give 100% of the payment upfront, you can meet them in the middle by requesting a 25 – 50% down payment for the projects.
To have proof of your work, you can also use a task tracking app like Traqq. This way, your client won’t find any loophole to justify their late payment. On the other hand, you can also use a third-party service like Escrow.com, Upwork.com, or Guru.com. These platforms will ensure that the project fund is secured for both parties.
– Complete Output Overhaul for Free
Anyone in the freelancing industry has made this costly mistake early on in their career. You’ve probably been asked to revise your work for free. Let’s say you’re a web designer. You submit your output and your client suddenly tells you that they want a different color scheme for the entire website. They ask you to redo the site without offering extra pay. Cool, cool, cool! No doubt, no doubt!
Well, hold up! You might want to reconsider your decision, especially if you’re not using a time tracking software. All the free redoing work you perform on a fixed rate is money lost. Moreover, it is lowering your value. Essentially, the extra hours you work on revisions add up to the total project duration.
So, if you did not make any mistake and you followed all the instructions to a tee, you should say ‘No’ to free revisions. With that in mind, be clear with any new client that you charge an extra for revisions. When you do, your client will either pay you or choose to make the changes themselves.
– Teaching the Client Your Skills
If someone chooses to hire you, it means they value your skills. However, that is only true until someone on their team learns what you do. When this happens, it’s time to bid your client farewell. So, if they ask you to teach them what you know, tell them this:
“The process is quite complicated, and it takes a lot of experience and training to reach my knowledge level.”
There you have it… some of the unspoken rules that you should break in the freelancing world. They say the only thing constant in this world is change. So, if you want to thrive in this industry, you should take risks and challenge the norms.