Wrote this article in Medium.com by Sep 25 2019
1. Don’t be a “Free” Lancer
Freelancing is not ‘Free’lancing. Many people take the freelancers for granted and try to squeeze work from them by not paying properly or try to cheat at the end. Develop a practice to spot such people or organization and ignore them. Never go by the promises given by many websites in the media and spend money or pay any fees in the name of getting the opportunity. There is no concept of ‘Quick money’ in the world. Never fall for such fraudulent websites/organizations. There are many frauds in websites such as freelancer.com. They would extract from your work and never return back to pay for your hard earned work.
Patience is virtue. Develop patience and it should be always lingering in your brain, even if the clients try to corner you. They might not have read the resume properly. They might not be aware of your education background. They might not understand in which situation and environment you are. All they would be focusing is on the delivery of the task you are working and since it is a freelancing task, they will be counting every penny they spend on you. Hence your self ego should be kept aside and be sure to receive the task.
Develop patience, if they have not paid on time. Be sure to make a firm statement with respect to payment. If they miss to pay one cycle try to be patient for another one. If they constantly don’t pay but expect tasks from you make a honorary exit by making a logical conclusion of the task. Be good always. Think you got relevant experience as a benefit instead of money.
Never allow for abuse, inappropriate words charged against you. Send a thank you note cordially and break the relationship as per the contract.
Try to understand the task and focus on collecting the required information to complete the task. Join the calls on time and never indulge in unnecessary conversations that might digress you from receiving the most relevant information. Contact the clients only through the defined media and never try to contact the clients through other social media if they are not interested to do so.
4. Detail Orientation
Get as much information as possible and collect them in a systematic manner. Do some homework before you start with the client and think on all the possibilities of the task. Do not ask irrelevant questions and waste the limited time given to you. List down the questions, prioritize them based on the available time. Be smart to identify the whitespaces of any task and be ready to point out them at the end of every task. This may lead to the award of the next project.
5. Time consciousness
Give importance to the deadlines marked by the client. For them time is precious. Try to complete in the given period of time attached with quality in work. Never say a task is ‘Complete’ unless otherwise it is 100% complete. If completed less than that, be honest and develop a practice to say you have completed n%. If you cannot complete the task in a given time, raise your hands before the deadline. List down the challenges, constraints, impediments to finish the tasks and send it to the clients. Do not include personal issues such as internet failure, power breakdown, in the impediments issues.
6. Culture Awareness
Google on the culture, creed, religion and nature of the clients based on their geography. Study on their accents, how they express anger or sarcasm. Be aware of their email patterns and accordingly respond. Do not reply immediately and be sure to be proactive and not reactive.
7. Aware of Timezone difference
Never disturb the clients at odd hours. Understand their time zone and act accordingly. Same way educate the clients also on your time zone, religious active timings etc.
8. Payment Consciousness
Negotiate payment pattern, invoice dates, invoice format before in hand and before taking up the tasks. Create a mutual trust between you and the client such that both parties are not affected by the payment related issues. Try demanding 20–30% and charge it before starting the task. This would create a commitment and trust between both the parties. Understand how much they are going to pay, research on the currency they are going to pay. Do not regret if you have not done the math properly after receiving the payment. Tabulate all your income and analyze the pattern of income, every year. Based on the analysis, you may demand more from the clients, based on the complexity of the tasks. Having a paypal account is one good way of transferring money!
9. Keep trying
Keep trying for new clients, through social media and reputed web sites such as LinkedIn. Be assertive and list down your unique selling points, whenever you get a chance. Do not write stories in your cover letter and be sure to be very short and crisp to explain your talents. While on a discussion, practice not to compare the clients or talk about the micro lever details of the project. Ensure that your unique selling points are the key takeaways for the customer!