Whether you’re a freelance designer, programmer, or writer, the goal is the same: complete our clients’ projects successfully. When we do, we can grow our portfolio, strengthen our reputation in the niche and receive additional assignments.
Sometimes new projects can be challenging, whether they’re large or small. You might take on a new assignment and later realize it’s more complex than you expected, or you might be working with new software for a client and discover that it has a major learning curve, putting your deadline in danger.
Whatever issues you face, there are a few things you can definitely do for ensuring that your project will be a success.
1. Be transparent
One common reason a project might run into problems is due to a lack of communication between freelancers and clients. Both need to be transparent with each other; freelancers need to share any issues they come across and problems they face during the course of the project while clients need to be very clear about expectations.
The details on deadlines and delivery must be established in the beginning, and there should be solid communication between both parties. When both sides fully understand all the components of every project, it sets the stage for a positive relationship and provides security to each freelancer and client.
2. Stay on task
Staying on task can be challenging for even the most disciplined freelancers especially since, broadly speaking, they don’t work in an office or traditional setting. Since most freelancers work from home, there are many distractions that can keep them from achieving their goals and completing projects. Experienced freelancers employ several tactics for staying on track.
When you work from home, there’s no shortage of distractions all around you. The TV in the next room, the kids, housework you need to do, snacks in the kitchen; all of these things can give your focus a run for its money. Your best strategy is to find a quiet, dedicated workspace to minimize these distractions as much as possible. You might use noise-cancelling headphones or earplugs to get the peace and quiet you need. It can also be useful to look into website blockers, like Freedom and StayFocused, which can help boost your productivity.
Manage your time and tasks
One time-management technique that many freelancers use is Pomodoro, where you work in intervals with short breaks in between to avoid burnout. Another technique is time blocking, where you intentionally delegate blocks of time to complete certain tasks. There are many time management techniques out there; it’s up to you to find the one that suits you best. You might also consider using project management software or strategies to help you keep everything organized.
3. Go the extra mile
In today’s competitive freelance landscape, it’s not enough of just doing a good job. Of course, you want to complete your project successfully and have a satisfied client, but you also want to stand out. The best way to do that is by going above and beyond in an effort and truly wow them. This includes:
· Researching their business and product to be better informed and making suggestions and pitching ideas
· Asking if you can help them with any other tasks related (or not)
· Anticipating their needs
· Offering timely updates
· Treating clients like they are people
· Asking open-ended questions about topics other than the project
4. Take initiative
A question came up but the client isn’t available, so what do you do? Show them that you don’t need hand holding and take an initiative. This may not always work out for the best, and you might have to redo certain parts of the project, but for the most part, clients are usually impressed when they can remain hands-off and leave all the details to their freelancer.
Self-reliance also means having good tools and support you need to complete a project. Apart from project specific tools and information, freelancers should have their own selection of resources and materials that they use independently to get the job done.
5. Offer post-project support
Nothing stands out more than a freelancer offering support after each project is complete. From asking for feedback to offering rewrites and redesigns if needed, these are practices that often impress clients and can set you up with recurring work in the future. That being said, it’s also important to set boundaries to prevent a client from taking advantage of your offer.
What makes a project successful?
Being a successful freelancer takes plenty of time and dedication, especially if you plan on working full time. Freelancing is not as easy as it may seem but, at the end of each day, it has many benefits. To be successful, you will need to build up a portfolio and a reputation, and the best way to do this is through sound project management.
Every project and client are different, so there’s no foolproof recipe for following for every project; however, the tips we share here will help any freelancer successfully complete his or her projects and keep clients coming back for more.