Freelancing: Why A Revision Limit Is Necessary

Whether you won a project in a freelancer website or acquired a project in person or through social networking online, it takes time to get a project done and communication between the service provider and the client. It is the communication that is important and one of the largest failures that can happen during a project.

Some of the scenarios involve:

  • The client know what they want, but unable to communicate it.
  • The freelancer did not read the original project and understand what was needed, nor asked the necessary questions up front to clarify the project.
  • The freelancers is not resourceful enough or not knowledgeable to complete the project successfully.
  • The client has the project done, but unsatisified.
  • The client likes the project so far, but requires numerous revisions.
  • The client requests for something outside the agreed project contract and expects the freelancer to do it for free (freelancer has previously stated their terms on extra services.)
  • The client does not have complete content or information to send and has to be asked a lot.
  • The client still has no idea what they want.

The problem is that a lot of freelancers, and please note that I do not say most or all, because not every freelancer does this – they block off an amount of time for a project. Sometimes the service provider will have several projects scheduled over the course of a few days, a week, a couple weeks, or more. It all depends on the comfort level the freelancer has when taking on a workload.

Especially in web design, and sometimes other types of freelance work, it is imperative to at least have over 90% of the work completed before showing the client. 100% is even better. :)

  1. Let the client look over the first proof.
  2. Have the client put together a list of feedback, much like a checklist so everything that is missing or needs to be done can be tackled.
  3. Go over revision checklist and fix or answer questions if an explanation is needed (sometimes the client will put questions in.)
  4. Send back completed revision checklist for client to check for a second proof.
  5. If all is good, great. If there are a few more, ask for another revision checklist and repeat process until satisfied.

Personally, I allow for 3 revisions. For anyone with a busy workload, more than 3 revisions is too much time being spent playing cat and mouse trying to go through each individual request. Make a list!!! In putting this policy of 3 revisions, or whatever number you have for yourself, you are effectively making your workload more efficient.

No freelancer is psychic – although I have had a few that I have gotten the project right on the first proof, communication is key.

What is your revision policy with clients?

Freelancing: Keeping A Positive Reputation With Former Clients

I have had to encounter some fairly bad feedback for other freelance web designers from my clients who had issues with the “freelancer who is sensitve.”

What I mean by this is when a client decides to take up a new freelancer to design parts or all of a site to make it far more effective, both in usability and to look better aesthetically. The previous designer/ developer feels hurt and starts somewhat of a cyber temper tantrum by withholding information.

The information could be hosting information, need to know info about the site to pass on to the next developer, and even login information. It can be really frustrating, especially if the client is running a business that the lead form is not working or even some part of their e-commerce is broken.

I have 2 pieces of advice on professionalism in this matter – for the client, and for the freelancer:

To the Freelancer

  1. 1. It is not your website. You were paid to do the job and yes, you spent all that time on the site, but it is not to be considered like family. Be a professional, suck it up, and release the information needed to the client.
  2. If you want to succeed, you need to give a good and everlasting impression. Regardless if the project you had once worked on was contracted out to another designer, if you left with a good reputation, you might just receive a surprising recommendation down the line.
  3. With holding things like login or anything that was agreed upon as the client’s property in the design contract can be put in court. Be smart.
  4. Do not talk smack about former clients on social networks. It is unprofessional and overall, immature. Future potential clients, if they have access to viewing your social network talk streams would definitely be turned off by such behavior.

To the Client -

  1. If is not your fault if your designer is not cooperating with you. It is your website and you are entitled to all information, files, and anything agreed upon in your design contract with the developer.
  2. It is okay to be nice and give a few days, but tough love is necessary, especially if it is losing you money. Be prepared to warn a developer that is not cooperating with releasing your website’s intellectual property, that you are within your rights to seek arbitration.
  3. Be aware that if your case involves that the designer is not releasing web hosting login information that you paid for, that you will need to find out how to get your web hosting account back into your hands. Go directly to the web host, put in your case, and make sure to ask them how you can establish that the account is yours and not the designers.
  4. In worse case scenarios, there are people who have hosted their clients and have deleted everything. If you can afford it and if you have enough documentation to prove your case, you can seek out legal retribution.

As said, it is important to keep a positive reputation with clients, both current, and former ones. You never know if a client might come back later or refer someone else. Due to some of the online tools to measure your reputation, both your own words and former client’s words can come up. One example that comes to mind is StepRep.

If you are a developer, have you heard of incidences where a client has had a nightmare experience in wrestling their account away from a previous designer? Any other stories that relate? What tips do you have for both freelancers and clients in this matter?

How Sure Can A Freelancer Be Paid?

The title paraphrases what I was asked by another freelancer to touch base on my blog. How sure can a freelancer be paid when they accept jobs?

The majority of my friends who are freelancers have adopted a 50/50 policy. Fifty percent of the project amount is paid at the beginning to secure the fact that the client is serious on starting. The other half is given when the project is signed off on – for those who do not know what that means: when the project has been done and the client is satisfied enough to agree that the job is does.

However, there in lies the problem. Can a person be guaranteed that they will be paid the last half?

A few years ago this was a big problem, but because of social media, if a client or a freelancer wants to become reputable, they have to honor the contract that was agreed upon. Regardless if it was by word, or email, or an official contract, it is a binding contract.

A freelancer will come in contact with dubious clients, and eventually develop a policy in which they know if someone is serious about becoming a client and will follow through.

The 50/50 policy will at least assure that the freelancer will be paid for at least some of their work. It is up to the freelancer to be cautious and make sure to set up a good method in keeping communication open with the client.

Freelancing can be a risky venture, but it is important to learn from the bad transactions and move on. The great thing is that the freelancer can share with others on the social network streams if a client has not held up their end. Today, reputation is becoming big for companies.

Are you a freelancer? What kind of policy do you have with clients? Have you ever had a problem being ‘stiffed’? – Share your story…

A Freelancer’s Policy – Protect Yourself

Freelancing is something that has its own risks. Like any business, you are dealing with all sorts of clients. Those who are new to the game may not have a set policy, but they should.

Whether you are new to freelancing for writing or even web design, here are some ideas to include into your policy.

Have a clear policy written from the beginning before the project begins. Everything that is expected should be included:

  1. Define your duties. Go into detail. There are some clients who believe you will do more for free and it ends up being a time consuming job.
  2. List an estimated time of completion or a timeline. Your client might be on a deadline, so make sure you agree on one and set it to paper. Even if you might be a little late, you should always give room. Some clients may try to pay less for your services. Make sure to include in the policy a clause that prevents this. If a client brings in another developer to help, make sure you get paid from your time.
  3. Define payment method. If you require 50% of payment up front and the rest upon completion, you need to have that in your policy. This goes double for web designers. Just google about it – there are a lot of stories where web designers have been completely stiffed.
  4. Make a transfer of project policy upon completion. This is a big one. If you give the final draft or load the live site up before being paid, are you sure the client will pay you? Once the client has approved the project, make sure you get paid. If you have to include a clause in your policy on a third method of payment just for transferring, all the more power to you.
  5. Define methods of communication. Some clients require more communication than others- some ridiculously so. Outline your hours and expectations of communication. Some clients feel communication might involve chatting while you are trying to get a project done. This is distracting and could push your time. If the demands can be listed outside of phone or a instant messaging program, insist that they send an email with their list of requests. While you might be happy to give your phone number out, you might have to put a policy on it. Some clients might be obligated to call you whenever they feel like.
  6. Define your support policy. If you have finished a project and the client is getting use to it, especially in web design, they might have questions. You need to specify how long you will provide support for a project after the main project has been completed. You will also have to define what is included in the support. There will be times when the client actually wants you to add something. That is not support… that is site maintenance and you should be charging them. That needs to be listed in your policy.
  7. Define copyright and disclosure. This is where you define what type of project – whether the client allows you to put a credit line or it is a non-disclosure agreement (NDA.) You also need to include the disclosure for the sources of your images and what the rights are. For web and graphic designers, this is important, especially if you purchased a license to use certain images.

The bottom line is that even if you feel like your policy might be a bit strict, it is there for a good reason: to make sure you get paid. Your rights are protected. If you do not, it is like your car being hit and the culprit is no where to be found. You end up stuck paying the insurance. In the case of freelancing, when this happens, you end up eating your time or sometimes get your work stolen.

If you freelance, what do you include in your policy?

Get on time success in testking 000-108 & Testking 646-205 exams by using our latest and high quality 350-030 and other superb sscp exam pass resources of testking 70-680.

So You Want To Hire A Freelancer

There are a lot of freelancers available online or in your local community. However, no matter how many there are, it can be difficult to choose the right one. The problem I see a lot in freelance project bidding sites are people unwilling to properly invest in their projects. They have ridiculous expectations. Here are a few innappropriate expectations:

1. Expecting a web designer to take time to do a website or a theme for their website for $30.
2. Expecting 50 comments a day for 30 days (1500 comments) for less than $250.
3. Expecting 1000s of followers in a month for merely pennies per hour

…and much more.

Sometimes it is enough to make freelancers sick. Money pays the bills, and I know even in other countries, accepting such a rate is just as degrading. The problem is – it shows when someone hires a bad freelancer. One who is willing to do any of the above and put countless hours in, is not only insane, but obviously doing shortcuts. This is why we also have comment spam too. People are just copying and pasting, rather than honestly commenting on the person’s blog. Often they have nothing to do with the site.

So, if you want to hire a freelancer the right way, you need to take in account several things:

- It WILL take time
- Do not assume online services also mean minimum wage. (Think: “if it were me, how much would I honestly charge?”)
- Like a tattoo, if you choose the cheap dirty place, you might walk away with either an ugly tattoo or a tattoo and a nasty infection. In this case, you might walk away with sub par work.

There are freelancers out there that charge a lot of money. However, there are many that are willing to work with a client’s budget as long as it is within reasonable standards. It is best to be realistic and if you are going to invest in your website whether for personal reason or if it is for your business, then you need to save until you have a decent amount.

Have you ever considered hiring a freelancer? What are your own expectations?

Freelancing and Time Management

Working on your own, you may or may not have come to know the word ‘procrastination.’ It could be from social networking, games, phone calls, family, or any other activities. Of course, you should never sacrifice any of those completely, but you should try to be more focused. Here are some ways you can manage your time better.

Make a General Schedule. While you might be one to like a little disorganization and possibly “go with the flow”, it is not ideal to your work cause. Making a scheduling will allow you to set the time aside for your work and for you to have your normal life. It is like studying and having a family. It is hard to do both, but you have to find the time to study for school if you want to succeed. In freelancing, you have to find the time or you lose money. When making a schedule aim to make your hours those that you are most creative. Whether creative in the early morning, midday, evening or late night, these are the hours you need because your are the most motivated then.

Make Daily To-Do Lists. While you do have a general schedule outlined, it does not cover the small things within each project you have to complete. A To-Do list or even a checklist will help guide you to completing your workload on time.

Prioritize Your Projects. You might prioritize your projects based on when you got the go ahead from the client to start. (For some this might mean 50% of the fee was paid.) You might depending on how big the project is. You really should try to space your projects evenly. While you might be on one project, you might get ideas going on another. It might be good to designate so much time towards one project, take a small break, and then go to the next. You can go back to the other anytime. This will make your workload less monotonous. However, never think one project is less than another. You are being paid, so always put your best foot forward.

These are merely a few ways to manage your time as a freelancer. Life becomes busy, but with a bit of time managment, you will succeed.

What other suggestions do you have for freelancers who are needing to manage their time better?

Freelancing: Ask The Right Questions From the Beginning

When first contacting a client to start a new project, it is essential to have a few questions in mind in order to get things rolling smoothly. A breakdown in communication is a sure way to lose a client and possible chance of being referred to others – in other words, for a web designer, you lose some trust. Asking questions will allow your client to feel more involved with their website, and allow you to try to make their vision happen. It is also a way you can accurately put together an estimate and for some larger projects, a contract.

Here are some questions that you should ask. Of course, some of them you may want to make sure to add your own questions depending on how the client responds.

What is the focus of your website?
Whether a business or personal site, the client will need to decide who is their target audience. The client will also want to be able to show how people should chose their product/ site over another, so they must be aware of competition in their niche.

As the designer, you also must do some research to be familiar with the terms of the client’s niche.

How would you like your site to look?
Are there any features on other sites the client has seen that they really want for their own website Are there already some logos or graphics the client may need you to design around? Their website is a virtual calling card. They do not want it to flop, and that includes design.

What are all the services you need?
Does the client expect you to put their content up for them or install certain scripts? Sometimes the client likes to have a hand in their project. While they may hire you for design, they may want to insert their own content – or they might not. Sometimes that is due to time.

If you offer more than just web design, then this would be the time to discuss what other things you can do for your client.

It is important to make sure that both you and the client are on the same page or it could involve a lot of wasted time going through unnecessary proofs until you get it right.

What questions do you typically ask your clients in the beginning?

The Freelancers Creed

Some of this is slight a tongue-in-cheek type post. It comes after having dealt with clients who have expected more than what was agreed upon a project.

So, here is my Freelancers Creed:

1. A freelancer can accept or refuse business, or recommend projects to a colleague.
2. A freelancer is not free.
3. A freelancer is not to be associated with the word “cheap”. (Well, unless the work was bad.)
4. A freelancer is to make deadlines unless project is changed for necessary reasons.
5. A freelancer can design sites in their home and in their pajamas, or less. (I do not care what anyone wears, nor want to know about that. However, I hope cam chats with clients will at least have a decent shirt on. :shock: )
6. A freelancer should be honest about their services and be up front if a project has become more than they can handle or outside their knowledge to complete.
7. A freelancer should always put their best foot forward.
8. A freelancer is not to be confused a marketer or social media consultant (unless the freelancer offers those services and charges.)
8. A freelancer does not have to have a sense of humor, unless it is a joke site.
9. A freelancer has the right to ask pay for work as half up front and half at the finish.
10. A freelancer must make sure all project details are discussed, agreed, and somewhere whether in an actual contract or in some type of format to prevent any misunderstandings.
11. A freelancer should be friendly enough to work with people, even if their work space looks like a dark dungeon. (If it takes coffee to make things pleasant – drink it!)

Ah, I thought I would cut it off there. Anyone have any other’s to add?