When starting as a freelancer, asserting yourself is not always the easiest thing to do. You want to gain clients, which means posturing yourself in a friendly and pleasant manner. However, this need to please potential clients often leads to compromise on your end.
There are times when you end up accepting more work for less pay. Sometimes, you fold to a client’s recommendations even when you have a solution that could better apply to the situation. These instances are familiar to both new and seasoned freelancers.
However, if you want to put yourself on the road to growth and success, you have to learn the invaluable skill of assertiveness. Let us walk you through how you can keep building this trait in your everyday work life.
Being Assertive When Securing Clients
You might think that having an assertive personality turns clients away. This isn’t true. Being firm with your terms keeps expectations clear between you and your clients.
Make an excellent first impression
First impressions are essential. These initial meetings are sometimes all your potential client has to assess what working with you will be like.
Whether you are meeting them in person or over a conference call, dress appropriately for your meetings. For in-person meetings, find out the location of your session and its dress code, in addition to knowing what kind of job you are applying for. For video calls, dress neatly and make sure that your background is clean and free of distractions.
Pay attention to your body language, too. Maintain eye contact with who you are speaking with. On video calls, keep your eyes on the screen and avoid looking around the room.
Support your talk about your abilities and contributions with presentable attire and confident body language.
Have written agreements
Many client-contractor disputes occur when something is not clearly stated in the contract or the terms and conditions. Always put your work terms into writing so that you have them to refer back to as you do your deliverables for your client.
Your terms and conditions should detail, among other things, the scope of work you and your client agreed upon, the objectives of the project, and the number of revisions you allow for materials. These let you determine when a service requires extra fees or is already a part of your expected output.
Tip: discuss payment terms with your client, too. Tell them your preference when it comes to payment deposits so that they can prepare for it, or you can discuss alternatives. For instance, if you prefer checks to cash deposits, inform your client to give them time to find cost-effective check providers.
Name your rate
Your rate is one of the hardest things to assert to a client, especially when you are a young freelancer. However, you will need to get used to discussing money if you want to keep freelancing.
Do not hesitate to tell your client about your expected rate for the job. If they have questions, take the time to break down why your preferred rate is correct for your skill level and the job description. Many times, it just takes your client a better understanding of the amount of work involved with the scope of work.
Staying Assertive Once You’ve Secured the Client
There are ways to keep your client happy while also maintaining an excellent work-life balance. These are ways to stay assertive while working with a client.
Set clear boundaries
Quick responses to inquiries and concerns put you in a good position with your client. However, are you so accommodating that you sacrifice your rest hours and work beyond your set time to attend to something a client asked for?
When a client contacts you all of a sudden, remember that you are not required to provide the thing they requested instantly. Always complying with these kinds of requests gives them more reason to do the same in the future. Acknowledge their message, then offer a time when you are free to discuss the matter or tell them when you can realistically provide the material they requested for.
“No” is not always negative
Finally, you can say no. It may make it feel like you are quietly telling a client that you are incapable of doing the job, but it is just wise enough to know what you can and cannot manage now. See it this way instead: saying no to work you cannot accommodate allows you to accomplish what is on your plate to the best of your ability.
Being a freelancer doesn’t mean you give in to your clients’ needs and demands. You need to prioritize yourself; consider your skills and capacity. This way, this career path can work for you.