When I was a member of the Tampa Chamber of Commerce I found that not many companies, large or small, felt comfortable outsourcing. I outlined how they could get experienced, professional design for a fraction of the cost of a full time designer right out of school. They were still hesitant.
The Chamber would host, what I call “Speed dating.” You get 2 minutes to pitch your company. It was fun. I started my 2 minutes with “Who here has had a bad experience with a designer or design firm?” Every hand went up. I then went on to explain that a freelancer needs to wear two hats: designer and business owner. If you are only working with half of that equation then you are not running your business as well as you should.
You may be the best designer on the planet but if you don’t communicate well with your clients, they will eventually get tired of it and move on. Here are a couple simple rules that in my experience make a big difference:
- Return emails timely (you would be amazed how much clients appreciate this)
- Keep regular business hours. I worked with a web programmer who said he did most of work at night. So when I would start my day, I would have a lot of emails with questions but he wasn’t available to talk about them. Makes no sense.
- Always be available by phone and meet deadlines. If your not going to make a deadline, let the client know beforehand.
- Keep your invoices clear and detailed and if a client has a question, don’t be offended.
Sounds really simple, right?