So you’re thinking of hiring a freelancer? Awesome! I’m a huge advocate for supporting small businesses and freelancers and not just because I am one. A lot of awesome people who are excelling in their businesses started out as that one-man army working 24/7 shifts to turn their passions into a job they could pay the bills with. They owe their success to their own willingness to work hard, but also to the clients who trusted them to work their magic for them. I’m grateful for anyone who ever puts their faith in my work. But there are a few things I wish prospective clients knew, and based on the convos I’ve had with my other freelancer friends, I think most of us would agree.
For starters, we don’t freelance for funsies. While creatives find joy in our work, it’s still very much work. Writers like me, visual artists, digital designers, photographers, cinematographers, makeup artists, and any kind of creative you can think of can tell you that we put in insane hours and sacrifice sleep and leisure to get shit—your shit—done.
Which is why we expect to be paid. Because we’ve got bills to pay and we can’t cash exposure and gratitude. We appreciate that you love our work, but we’d like you to show that gratitude by paying the price we ask. That’s not to say that we don’t know the value of exposure, but not all exposure is created equal. We appreciate the promises to tell all our friends about our work our shout us out to your IG followers, but unless that can guarantee us paying clients, we really need the dollars more than the likes.
Which means we’d really rather that you not approach us for work unless you’re prepared to pay and pay on time. And if you’re not, please please please tell us this up front. There’s nothing worse than expecting to get paid, sending an invoice, and being told that the money isn’t coming for a while, or not at all. Of course, that’s on us to make sure we provide air tight contracts and service agreements, but please don’t make us fight your or chase you for what we earned.
In exchange, we’ll dedicate ourselves to your project, because we want you to be happy with the results. We take pride in giving our clients something they love. We take customer satisfaction very personally. I know nothing makes me happier than when one of my clients tell me they got an A on the paper I edited or that they love the website copy I wrote for them.
The easiest way to make sure we can give you what you want is if you know what you want and communicate it clearly. It can be very frustrating to be approached by a client with a really vague idea. No matter how much we do our best to fulfill that unclear request we’ll almost end up being told what we did isn’t it. Because we don’t know what it is. If you come with a clear vision, it makes everyone’s life easier.
While we’re talking about vision, we need you to trust ours. Because we’ll see things you don’t. A photographer will have an eye for a shot you could have never conceived. A visual artist will understand composition and complementary colours. Writers will know which words will give your story the most power. If your freelancer is insisting on something, there’s a good chance they have a solid reason why.
If you keep these things in mind, and hire a freelancer who is good at what they do, whose price is in your budget and whose brand aligns with your goals, it’s hard to go wrong. You’ll get what you want, they’ll get to do what they love, and everybody wins.