In the world of freelancing, everything is fluid and ever changing. One day you’re given ten task from the client that are absolutely crucial and need to be completed ASAP, only to have them scrapped the next day because something in the timeline has changed. It could also be that the client just changed their mind, and wants to focus on something else.
Welcome to the world of freelancing. Sounds crazy and chaotic right? In all seriousness, things like that happen all the time. It just comes with the job description.
One thing that makes freelancing much easier, or has the potential to turn it into an never ending migraine, is your ability (or lack thereof) to stay in communication with your clients.
Different Time Zones
If your client is in a different timezone than you are, things will be a bit more complicated. You’ll have to make yourself available on their time schedule instead of your own, which means you’ll probably be working the night shift.
It’s certainly possible to manage a project without adopting a weird and inconvenient schedule, but that tends to rarely work out. Why? Because it means you’re unable to chat with your client in real time. Communication will likely have to be completely via email, which will inevitably introduce a lot of delays into the project, since you’ll likely only see the emails when you get up in the morning.
Unless you’re willing to change your schedule to fit that of a client, taking on projects for clients outside of your time zone may not be a great idea. If you can barely communicate with your clients, you’re going to have a lot of problems and delays down the road. This only applies to clients that have major time zone differences of course. If the time difference is only a few hours or so, it’s not really a big issue.
It’s typical that most clients will want to be updated on the progress you’re making with a job. I mean can you blame them? There are deadlines to be met, and good money is being paid to see that they are.
In order to keep them updated and happy, you’re going to need to keep in contact with them at all times. You don’t literally have to talk to them every second of the day, but it’s good to give them a heads up on work that you’ve completed, and what you’re currently working on.
If for example you just finished say, task five out of ten, let your client know that task five has been completed, and that you’re working on task six now. It can be as simple as that. If you have any questions for them about something, or need extra information or data, let them know too.
Doing so lets them know exactly how you’re progressing, what you’ve done so far, and a general idea of if you’re making good time by the deadline things are due by. Your client’s will appreciate this very much, and it’ll save you some headaches down the line. Some clients can take this a bit too far though. Updates every 30 minutes or so becomes a pure productivity killer and general annoyance.
Staying in communication with clients doesn’t have to be difficult. While not always the easiest thing in the world, it serves a huge benefit to both you and the client. When working on projects, it allows you to get feedback from a client in order to know if you need to change something, before you’ve put in a ton of work that you’ll have to scrap later.
It’s also beneficial to the client by keeping them up to date on things, and letting them know you’re not just wasting their time and money. They also benefit by being able to adjust timelines as needed.
In the end, it will make both your lives much easier, and make you look more professional.