— December 8, 2017
The freelance lifestyle is a great one. However, there have been times I didn’t feel completely respected. That feeling is mostly gone these days. But it didn’t just happen. As with many other jobs, you need to earn respect as a freelancer.
That can take time.
And, in some cases, it might even take more time than it would if you had a “real” job.
No matter your situation, though, there are some things you can do to help you earn that respect a little bit faster.
1. Charge What You’re Worth
It surprises many beginning freelancers when I tell them to stay away from freelance marketplaces and instead focus on charging a bit more. When you bid on jobs, you basically undercut yourself and your value.
Instead, find out the market rate for the type of freelancing you do and charge closer to that rate. It’s true that you might have to accept a little less when you first start out, but your goal should be to raise your rates over time.
Clients will take you more seriously when you charge a higher rate.
2. Present a Professional Image
One of the best ways to earn respect as a freelancer is to present a professional image. This includes putting together a professional online portfolio. Your website should look clean and offer an About Page that boosts your credibility.
Additionally, your professional image should extend to your social media presence (such as your LinkedIn profile), including a separate page for your freelance business. Your social presence should be consistent and professional.
Finally, make sure your emails are professional in tone, and that when you speak to someone on the phone, you keep things professional.
3. Create Boundaries
Make sure to create boundaries. This means letting your client know how many revisions you’ll do. You can also make it clear when you will be unavailable, and hold to that. You can earn respect as a freelancer by showing that you respect yourself — and your valuable time. When you respect your time, your clients will, too.
You can help create boundaries by creating a template freelance agreement or statement of work. This is a great way to let your clients know what they can expect from you and set boundaries related to revisions and costs upfront.
4. Meet Your Deadlines
To be honest, I’ve struggled with this one in recent years. With so much upheaval in my personal life, some things have been sliding. But if I want to keep the respect I’ve worked so hard to earn, I need to get back to the deadlines.
Meet your deadlines. When telling a client how long something will take, give yourself a buffer so you have a little wiggle room. And if you can’t meet your deadline, let your client know as soon as possible, and tell them when you are likely to get the item turned in.
It’s possible to earn respect as a freelancer if you work hard and show yourself as professional as any other worker.