How to get started as a freelancer - part 3
Part 3: Working with clients
- Initial estimate and advance – once you email the prospect and they contact you back, work with them over conferences and meetings and understand the project in as much detail as possible. Then present an execution plan. It should have a summary of the requirements in bullet points as per your understanding and two important things: number of days it will take and approximate total cost. Make it clear that, you will try to stick to this estimate but still charge them per hour or per day. Never or very rarely go for fixed cost projects. Also, ask for a portion of the total cost as advance – may be half a month of payment or 25% of the total cost. Never start before time and cost estimates are agreed and advance is paid.
- Start the execution. While the project is running, provide frequent demos and updates. Also, send weekly status reports to the client in which you should list things done that week, any roadblocks and plan for the upcoming week.
- Invoice them – present an invoice at the end of the month. Give them 1 to 2 weeks to pay as per the original agreement. Don’t accept equity as payment.
- Be prepared to fire clients. If a client does not honour the original agreement, regarding say, payment or work hours etc., be prepared to stop the project and let them go after giving them couple of warnings. That is a privilege of working as a freelancer.
Final advice is: be dependable. Your clients depend on you for some of their critical work and you should try your fullest to provide them the best work and support them after that. Word spreads fast and you will see rewards of your honest and quality work very soon. All the best!