When I started doing freelance work online I had been blogging for awhile and knew a little bit about what I took to build a following. I knew that one had to be able to gain their audience’s trust in order to grow a business and increase in authority.
I knew that expertise alone wasn’t the necessary ingredient to make it in the blogging world. The people coming to my blog needed to feel like they could trust – feel like I had their best interests at heart.
And then when I jumped to freelance writing, I quickly realized that in order to be able to conduct business in a fair manner and to build relationships online that could result in more well-paying jobs, I had to do my best to gain the trust of the potential clients I pitched my services to. They in turn would also have to be able to trust me to do quality work whenever they outsourced work to me.
Spending some of my time online reading about the experiences of other freelancers and clients (some who had been scammed / burnt), it dawned on me that in order for a freelancer to have a great working relationship with a client, there had to be mutual respect and trust. And for clients to be able to get the most out of the money they spent outsourcing work, they had to deal with the freelancers they hired in good faith.
In today’s post I will share some tips freelancers and clients can use to build trust with one another.
How freelancers and clients violate each other’s trust
Taking up work one can’t do. This happens a lot online. How? Well, just anybody can sign up for an account on UpWork or other freelance marketplace and pose like a legit service provider.
And for those not getting pitched via job bidding sites, just anyone can look articles on how to get direct clients, copy an email template (that is already proven to work), do a little Google Search to gather a list of emails and use Gmail to send potential clients a version of the template they just got online.
In fact some do this, get work and then outsource to other freelancers who do the actual work, but these are not the people I am talking about. There are just people who just like to bite more than they can chew.
They will someone asking for work they intend to do themselves underestimating what it will take to do the work sometimes. Maybe it is because of the allure of money or it could be that some people are just so desperate to get online jobs they will just try whatever they can to get someone to hire them.
The problem though, when you get hired to do something and you aren’t in a position to deliver (but don’t want to admit it), you will be wasting your time and the time of whoever hires you. Or like some do, they will take a crack at the assignment and deliver something very shoddy.
I have read stories of clients that hired a developer to create a plugin extension or a software tool that got back a bunch of files with code that didn’t work the way they expected.
So, they spent lots of money (upfront in some cases) and waited for weeks only to get back something that was horribly and poorly built they had to scrap everything and start afresh with another developer.
So, if you are going to offer your services online, if you can’t fulfill the work in a way that meets the client’s expectations, don’t let that client distrust the people working in your field because saying no to work you can’t do doesn’t cross your mind whenever you see dollar signs.
If you know the work you will deliver in case you are hired for certain projects will not meet the quality standards expected by a client, refer them to someone else.
Paying low rates. So, knowing how much something is worth, having the money to pay for it, but then still end up trying to haggle over small amounts of money because of scarcity mindset or because one thinks they can just get away with it and everything, including the work they get back from the freelancer, will just be spectacular. I hate this.
It is better to pay low rates because you don’t have enough funds and the way you communicate to a freelancer makes them understand your situation. But when you are sitting on a pot of gold (have enough money), paying someone well shouldn’t be something you have to keep fighting.
If you are going to hire freelancers on Entity.co.ke for example, the idea of paying someone well is something you should have the courage to practice. Don’t look at giving someone work as doing them a favour, because you are not.
It is no like they asking for a donation. You are not giving them money in return for nothing. There is a service they offer you that makes you open your purse or wallet. If you want great things from them, great things should be expected of you also.
So, learn about the rates / pricing in your field and go out there with the attitude that paying well for good work will benefit you both. It won’t hurt that you paid someone good money for a quality service.
Not meeting deadlines (taking too long to turn up work). This is really bad for freelancers who get work (with ample time to complete it) but aren’t able to because they are procrastinating or because they are working on multiple projects at a time that they can’t give each client enough attention.
The cure for this is to learn more about time management, to take only work that one can finish on time and to just learn ways to become more efficient at what they do. Every client hates it when they give a freelancer enough work to complete a task and the freelancer fails to deliver the work on time – sometimes turning up work a day or two after the deadline has elapsed.
Taking too long to issue payments. This is sometimes done by clients who say they will pay a freelancer at the end of one week or month then fail to do and react to reminders as if they are being asked for a donation. The rule is simple: if you promise a freelancer to pay them after the completion of work, look at the work they send back to you and if you are happy with it, issue a payment for the service rendered immediately.
Not being able to accommodate a few mishaps. Where it makes sense both parties should be able to accommodate each other whenever things don’t go as planned. There are some things that not worth being worked over.
Being humans and all, there will be times when someone tries to meet the expectations of the other party but still come up short. And sometimes second chances is all it takes to keep things moving in the right direction not anger or scathing reviews.
Trust between clients and freelancers: why should both parties work hard at it?
So, people can get on with making money. If a freelancer is getting paid well, they will be motivated to keep delivering great work on time and clients will have a steady flow of content / code / design they can use in their business to keep profiting from their products and services.
To avoid losses / getting burnt. I have read of stories of clients paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to freelancers for a project dear to them only to get something shoddy and worthless in return. I have also read if stories of freelancers doing work for someone, sending the work over and then getting paid nothing (or an amount lower than what they initially agreed on). Trust usually eliminates painful experiences like these before they happen.
To avoid time wastage. When there is trust, people will often be frank about how much they can pay, their expertise or how long it will take them to compete a certain assignment, helping both parties avoid wasting each other’s time.
To create a steady source supplying whatever it is both parties need. When there is trust (clients paying well and freelancers delivering quality work), usually both parties will want to give more of what they have to the other.
So, trust is really important if you are going to be hiring online or if you are going to be looking for online jobs. Learn to deal with the people you meet on Entity in good faith. And use some of the tips I have shared to guide you whenever you are: