This is the 3rd article in the series about working as a Professional Provider of Services
Now that you have calculated the hourly rate that you should be charging, you are in a better position to market yourself to clients who are worthy of hiring you. Don't waste time, energy and money on those who want to abuse your good nature.
- Stop using the term Freelancer. As of now you are a Contracted Highly Skilled Services Provider specialising in .......
- Be professional:
- Create your professional LinkedIn Profile. When someone searches for you on Google, your LinkedIn Profile comes up first.
- Have a website.
- Have a professional e-mail address - not GMail, Yahoo, Hotmail.
- Create your Services Document with your Terms and Conditions clearly stated. Now that you know what your real hourly rate is, you can defend it professionally when bidding for work.
- For fixed term contracts have a Retainer Agreement which must be signed by you and the client.
- "Productise" your service. If you are a Social Media Manager for example state how many posts you will do each day, what reports you will give etc.
- Use Timesheets. If the client can only afford you for 5 hours per month, don't work 100 hours and expect the client to pay. Keep the client updated with progress and time spent.
- Timesheets will help you accurately calculate how long a task takes. So often we thumbsuck and whinge when it takes 5 hours instead of that quick 10 minutes.
- State how communication with your client will take place. Constant phone calls, Whatsapps etc eat into our day very quickly. Add these to your timesheets and forward to the client. Either they pay or they will communicate via e-mail or schedule a call which is part of the contract.
- Invoice on time and confirm it has been received by the appropriate person / department.
- If they do not pay you according to your contract agreement, STOP WORK IMMEDIATELY. Be polite but firm. Where possible get a deposit up front. If you have delivered, it is often much more difficult to get paid.
- Have boundaries in place. If the client can't get their act together and provide the information on time they can't transfer their problems to you.
I was once given a very useful piece of advice. Unless someone has a gun to your head (or similar) you do not need to make an instant decision. Nothing is that important.
If this all sounds too difficult to manage, just imagine yourself sitting in the doctor's rooms being made to wait 2 hours for your appointment and even though you are feeling as sick as a dog, you have to settle your bill before leaving.