When you decide to uproot your laptop from the spot on your desk it’s been crusted to and live in a place, that well, just sucks less, there’s a few things you must never ever do. I really mean never. Ever. They will get you booted off the team. Sometimes immediately, other times in a slow painful way that will eventually see the end of your location independent freelance career.
I know, there was that one time, that one person who did something seriously stupid, inconsiderate, and downright rude. And you swear that even if you were starving under a bridge you’d never take work from them again. I get it.
I have at least three people on my “Never work for again” list. And another dozen on my “Don’t work for unless desperate” list. Keeping tabs on your terrible experiences is smart. Making those known via strings of never-heard-before curse words on your Facebook page, not smart.
I love discounts. Deals. Sales. Bargains. My favorite price is Free. Can’t beat that. I also love giving my clients discounts. They need it once in a while. And it’s shocking to me how thankful someone can be for a 15 minutes of pro bono work.
There is one catch, though. The sale has to end. Prices must go back up.
It is imperative that when you lower rates, give freebies, or discounts, that you make it EXPLICITLY clear that this is a one-time, short-term, one-per-household, ends-next-Friday, only-available-before-midnight, never-to-return-again, DEAL. And it is that way because: you messed up, you missed a deadline, you need more work, you are inconveniencing someone, you need more clients. Pick one. Make it known. Stick to it.
Easiest way to kill your business. Forget to show up.
Don’t be fooled. I have spent my fair share of months in a tent in a desert without any connection to anyone, especially my clients. I’ve always been able to return to my thriving freelance business, fully intact. The key: I politely told my clients that I would be gone. And I did this far in advance of my departure date.
My clients know that I need to unplug for a while. They know I have my working quota for the year. They expected there was going to be several months of void they’d need to fill. We all have to turn off the wifi every now and then. In fact, most people probably need to do it more often.
Here’s how to let your clients know you’re turning off the wifi, without losing them forever:
You should have learned this in 1st grade. But sometimes we forget. Be honest with your clients. Here’s a few of things I’ve fibbed about and lived to regret, and some example quotes to make my point.
Keep it real. There are good explanations for all of these situations, and assuming you can still get the work done, it’s better to be honest from the beginning.