15 Common Pitfalls To Avoid As An Internet Freelancer (2 of 3)

by on June 27, 2016 · 0 comments

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Isn’t it great to be an Internet freelancer? Working for myself, in an industry that I love, is something I consider priceless.

One of my favorite parts of the job is the Expand2Web Experts group. By sharing lessons we have learned on the road, Thomas and I are able to help our members better succeed. With the help of our members we’ve created a community where we all succeed through sharing.

Today I’d like to continue exploring our 15 Common Freelance Pitfalls classes – specifically part two of three. So have no worries, together we are going to step up our games!

If you missed the first post of the series and are interested in catching up, please visit: 15 Common Pitfalls To Avoid As An Internet Freelancer (1 of 3).

Now let’s get started as there is much to share and much to learn.

What We Covered in Class Two

In the second installment of this course we discussed maintaining a good relationship with your new and existing customers by staying in touch and defining the scope of a project before you begin working.

We specifically covered the following topics:

  • Not Staying In Touch With Clients
  • Is Following Up With A Client Pushy?
  • How To Avoid Letting Your Project Take Control – ie Scope Creep
  • The Importance Of Using A Contract – Setting Immediate Expectations
  • Staying True To The Contract – Not Getting Talked Into Things

In today’s post we will be looking more closely at two of these five topics.  Members of the Expand2Web Experts Group who are interested in watching the entire class can view the recorded session here: 15 Freelance Pitfalls Trilogy – 2 of 3.  If you are interested in joining the E2W Experts Group please see the conclusion of this post for more information.

Not Staying In Touch With Your Clients:

During this informative section of class, we discussed how to strengthen your relationships with new and existing customers by staying in touch.  You want your business to always be near the top of your customer’s mind. This ensures that when they need help with something, you will be their first choice.  In the Expand2Web Experts group we call this the trusted technical advisor.

Not staying in touch with your customers can cost you a lot of money. Considering the fact that getting a new client is 6x more expensive than keeping an existing customer.   The bottom line: it pays to maintain a positive line of communication with your clients.

Luckily, there are some easy ways to stay in touch with your customers.  Furthermore, doing so doesn’t have to add a great deal to your normal everyday workflow.  You will most likely find you are already doing some of these things.

Here are some great examples of ways to keep in touch with your clients:

  • Share the things you do behind the scenes that your customer may not be aware of (backups, plugin and WP updates, etc)
  • Monthly email newsletter
  • Updating your customer on industry changes and how they impact their website
  • Run a speed test on your client’s website and share the findings – suggest ways of improving performance
  • Regularly blog on topics that are important to your customers
  • Send them a handwritten note or small gift after a project is complete or to remind them when a support plan requires renewal

It doesn’t take a great deal of time or effort to stay in touch with your clients. It is still time we all have to take as successful freelancers.

Pro-Tip: Following up with a prospect can often make you feel pushy. Let your customer know you will be following up during your initial consultations together. In this way you are simply following through – never being pushy. Setting up and discussing expectations with your clients always pays off in amazing ways.

Experts Member Spotlight:

One of our long standing Experts shared some sage advice that we should all keep close to heart.

“Don’t miss out on any opportunity to build a long lasting relationship with your clients.”
– Josh S.

How To Avoid Letting Your Project Take Control – Scope Creep:

This is an extremely important topic.  During class I defined scope creep, shared precautions of how to avoid it, and reinforced the importance of productizing your services.

As a freelancer, you will eventually run into scope creep, which means the project goes outside the original project requirements that you agreed to. This could be extra pages the customer wishes to add, the creation of a logo, or an extra contact form.

Scope creep can put a freelancer out of business – be prepared.

If you read our previous post “15 Freelance Pitfalls – Part 1” you know how to calculate your MAR (minimum acceptable rate). Knowing your MAR allows you to quickly estimate the cost of any additional features your customer may request.

Productizing your services is the first and best defense.  By turning your services into products you gain the following advantages:

  • Allows you to establish exactly what is included and NOT included in the price.
  • Products are easier for customers to understand and reconcile – we are consumers of products by nature
  • People expect to pay for a product up front instead of waiting to pay the entire amount after the job is done – consider charging 50% (or 100%) down

We also discussed the importance of a simple and understandable contract with your client.  Having a contract ensures the scope of the project is clearly understood by your client.  With a contract, you can establish an expected delivery date, what will be delivered, and, most importantly, what will not.  Any vehicle that improves expectations between freelancer and customer is one worth serious consideration.  Providing a contract for your customer is essential.

Pro Tip:  On almost every job you will have to face scope creep.  When this happens explain to the customer their request is a valid one, but exceeds the scope of your agreement and that you have added it to the “phase two list”.  This not only helps battle scope creep but also opens an opportunity to discuss additional work with your client.

Conclusion:

Understanding how to keep in touch with your existing clients to encourage repeat business and avoiding scope creep are invaluable skills of any freelancer.  As Internet freelancers we have to ensure we practice these techniques to ensure success.

The Expand2Web Experts Group helps its members overcome challenges by sharing experiences, pro-tips, real life examples, the thrills of victory and the agonies of defeat with its members in our weekly classes.  By participating in our Experts community, everyone benefits through sharing.

Would you like to learn more about building your business with other freelancers and professionals from all over the world? The Expand2Web Experts group offers education, resources, and a great community. Join us today by clicking:  https://www.expand2web.com/coaching-and-training/

Already an E2W Expert?  If you would like to see one of these topics explored in more detail in a future class, or have a suggestion for a completely different class topic, please let us know.  Your input helps raise the level of E2W.

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Don is an entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley. He founded Expand2Web and is the publisher of the Expand2Web Blog, and the GetFiveStars Customer Feedback and Reviews service.

Don has written 313 articles on Expand2Web

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