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Tip for Freelancers: Don’t be a flake

by EdgeWise.PH Staff


08 Jan 2013 Print This Post Print This Post


    If you’ve decided to do freelance work, remember that the freedom and control over your time comes with one big responsibility: that you not be a flake.

    “Flake” is a slang term for an unreliable person, someone who agrees to do something but doesn’t deliver results. That is one of the worst things for you as a freelancer to be known as. Why?

    Your client was secretly afraid of this when they hired you.

    When a client hires a freelancer for a job, it’s usually because no one in their staff can do it, or they need an extra pair of hands. That means they are entrusting to you something they need but cannot do in-house. You are not bound by the same contracts and expectations as their employees, so even if you sign an agreement, they know — and secretly fear — that there’s a possibility that you will not deliver as expected.

    Be a better freelancer by promising only what you can deliver, and by compiling a list of satisfied clients who can serve as references.

    Your role in the project is likely only a small part of the big picture.

    It’s a stressful process, having a freelancer come up short or late during a project. You probably are dealing with just one person from the client side, but they’re dealing with more — and if you don’t deliver, you pass onto them the task of defending your failure. Remember also that no matter what happened in between, these were the people who chose you for the project, and believed you could do it.

    Be a better freelancer by understanding your role. Ask questions about the project, what it is for, what its goals are. Offer ideas that may not be what they asked you to do, but help them achieve their goals. And of course, do your part and deliver on time.

    It’s a small world, and one bad review could damage your future prospects.

    If you flake on a client and forget about it, don’t assume that they’ll forgive as easily. When you do freelance work for an industry, your work ethic and style gets passed on especially when they ask around for reviews. This is great for you if you did a good job for them, but devastating if you didn’t perform as expected. That kind of news will get around.

    Be a better freelancer by maintaining a good relationship even with difficult clients. And once you are told of a bad review from an unhappy former client, take note of the complaint and address it if it’s not true. But refrain from “trashing” anyone, just to save face.


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