26 May

Being a freelancer offers numerous advantages such as the opportunity to skip the morning or afternoon commute and the ability to pursue your passion, but the freelance lifestyle is not without its challenges.

Most freelancers are often at the mercy of their clients. From late invoice payments to last-minute changes, the clients that hire you can make or break your business and affect your overall satisfaction with the freelance lifestyle.

UASA has put together the top 5 main problems faced by freelancers and some solutions to overcome them.

Vague, unclear requests

Some clients don’t really know or can’t explain clearly and in great detail what they want from a project. In fact, they are hoping that you can identify their needs and goals and hopefully, the idea or purpose of the project as a whole.

Clients might not want to offend you by being too direct in their instructions. Whether you’re writing blogs or designing logos, lacking specifics about the client’s needs and goals can be a significant hindrance

As a freelancer, you can save time and trouble by insisting that clients clarify their expectations before work begins. When in doubt, draft a contract that explains what you will do and limits to the number of revisions you will perform else you will end up redoing the same project several times.

Micromanaging Clients

Sometimes the client who hires you is constantly looking over your shoulder, asking every little small detail until the task is complete. Clients who micromanage assignments can leave freelancers feeling stressed, frustrated and prevent them from doing their best work. In some cases, you might feel compelled to complete the assignment to the client’s exact specifications rather than exploring other solutions that might have yielded superior results.

To minimize this issue, set limits with a client from day one. If you get in the habit of answering emails or responding to texts at midnight, it will be hard to discontinue this behaviour down the line.

Late Payment

It is absolutely upsetting to encounter a client who pays late, or one who doesn’t pay at all. In some cases, clients pay late due to poor accounting management practises at their company or in worst case scenarios, because they lack the financial resources to do so. Others are just unscrupulous business people that hope you’ll get tired of asking for your money and eventually go away.

There is no way of avoiding these situations as they do come up sometimes unexpectedly but you can introduce certain practises when it comes to collecting your payments.

Keep detailed accounting records so you know which account is still outstanding and when payment is due. If you’re working with a client who has paid late before, request the entire amount or part of the money upfront as security.

Poor Communication

Some companies are not used to working with freelancers and they forget that you are not office bound or at their business premises. This means they might forget or don’t bother to loop you in on any developments regarding the project.

At the start of the project, set expectations upfront for the amount and type of feedback you require. Schedule regular meetings with them as the project develops to make sure you are always aware of any new developments that might need to be included in the project.

Unreliable Clients

The downside of having flexible workloads is the downtimes. Workflow is not always going to be constant, April might see you loaded with cash but May might not be the same. It can be frustrating to work with unreliable clients who promise constant regular work yet don’t deliver. It makes it difficult to also plan out your schedule if customers are giving you projects later than promised.

As a freelancer, you must set clear expectations with clients upfront. While you can’t force clients to deliver the amount of work they promised, or to do so on schedule, you can consider charging extra for urgent jobs.

It’s also advisable to work with a number of clients in different sectors, so you aren’t left broke if one doesn’t come through.

Make sure you have a contract in place to protect you against unscrupulous clients. Some clients already have their own contracts that you must sign before taking on a job. This can be scary and confusing especially if you don’t have a legal background.

Luckily, UASA’s Independent Professional Sector is uniquely positioned to assist you. With over 125 years of trusted support to its members, UASA has contracted some of the best legal minds in the country to give you the same level of service excellence that our members have become accustomed to.

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