You can move forward a lot with your freelance career just by being super responsive and super friendly. It's a rare commodity. And freelancing is mainly about relationships with your clients. This and your expertise - that's how I currently see the core of freelancing.
I've been on both sides of the barricade. I'm regularly hired for doing specialized WooCommerce and WordPress development and consulting projects for my clients. And I'm hiring other people to do work for me. I'm not delegating my core business because when you work with me, you work with me only (if not explicitly told else) - only this way, I can be sure about delivering the right quality.
Through the years, I've noticed that one of the essential qualities when working remotely is being responsive and keeping the deadlines.
How I'm communicating with my clients
So I aim to respond to any message I'll receive within 24 hours or faster, except for weekends. If it's from a client of mine, it is a top priority, and I'll aim to answer within 12 hours. No matter what. Even if it should mean that I'll open the notebook at 10 pm and write:
"Hey Scott, I've registered your message, but I've been super busy today. I'll get back to you tomorrow morning".
Then I set a task in Todoist for the next day, so I won't forget and sleep well.
This way, I'm communicating multiple things with my actions:
- "look, man, I appreciate our business relationship, and I care about you"
- "you can feel stable with me, and you can rely on me."
- "I'll be there, and I won't let you down."
I'm also following up with my clients and prospects. Say after a week. I'm checking out if the job delivered by me works. Or if the potential clients would like to ask anything, or if perhaps they are held back by something? It's because I genuinely care, and I want them to be satisfied by the work I do. Actually, I want to be sure that the project we've done together brought them value and it's useful for them.
My experience with other freelancers
Not saying this is happening all the time. But it is fairly common. And it's a blessing to be able to see this behavior from the other way when hiring for work, so I can learn from it. People are not responding when they promised. People are responding lately. People are not getting back to you at all and ghosting you. It's just a sign of poorly organized work and priorities. Do you want to work with this kind of people? It always makes me question, like how they will behave under pressure?
Where this super-responsive approach leads you?
There are numerous long-term benefits.
You will have better relationships with your current clients
If you are responsive, nice, and human, you will be building trust with your clients. And lately, it can be a very lovely ongoing work relationship. Where both of you will benefit from it.
More prospects will actually work with you
For me, it's quite a common thing that we will find, with my new potential client, that this one project does not make sense for us to do. Maybe it's not technically achievable. Perhaps I'm just too expensive for this work, and someone else would be a better fit. Or we have a consultation and find out there are different ways to solve their problems. And they could simply change their minds in the middle of the process. All of that is ok.
But if you walk them through with excellent communication experience, guess what. If they need something in the future, they will go straight to you. Or they can recommend you to their social network.