The fickleness of the freelance market especially right now can leave you with the impulse to immediately say yes to any gig that comes your way because it feels wrong to turn down a paying job. Yet before accepting any kind of freelance work, there are several important things other than the obvious issues of payment and deadlines that you must consider.
Take a step back and take the time to ask a few of the following questions before you agree to take on a job.
How does this job fit with my professional goals?
This is a question to ask yourselfrather than the potential client
- Is this job something that I want to do?
- Does it make sense to add to my professional journey?
- Are you comfortable being associated with the company or website?
- Is the project in line with the types of work or media outlets you most long to be engaging with?
You may fill income gaps with a variety of projects that don’t always fit with your areas of expertise or creative ambitions, but to establish your brand as a freelancer, you should always keep in mind the kinds of clients you most want to be working with. Throughout your gigs, you should continuously be building connections and heading toward your desired field.
Then the scope and remuneration of the work will be 100% worth your time and effort.
Do you have a particular style or vision in mind?
When you are considering accepting an assignment from a client, make sure you’re clear about what it will entail. It may sound obvious, but the more details you can get, the more informed your decision will be and all this information will come in handy if you do choose to accept.
Ask to see examples of comparable work to get a sense of the typical tone and target audience, and make sure the client lets you know of any pre-established standards or style guidelines you’re expected to follow. Also, inquire about the overall creative vision:
- What is the aim of this project?
- What does the client hope to achieve with it?
- What are some ideas they have if any?
Who is in charge of oversight and approval?
Know beforehand how many people will be monitoring your work, so you are not overwhelmed by juggling multiple points of contact and, more importantly, different sets of expectations.
The more people responsible for overseeing the project, the more people you need to communicate with to complete it. A multi-head project will be somewhat more complicated and time-consuming for you, so make sure you know what you’re getting into.
How can I protect myself?
The world of freelancing is not always as simple as it seems. There are some clients that will not always agree with you during the creative process and sometimes, these arguments can spill over into payments and other matters.
Luckily, UASA’s independent Professional Sector stands ready to assist Freelancers, Contractors and many other independent professionals with their contracts or any legal disputes.
If all goes well, these questions will be met with satisfactory answers that lead to you saying yes without hesitation. If that’s not the case, politely decline.
It might pain you to turn down work, but carefully considering each opportunity and deciding what is right for you can save you further anguish down the road from a job that’s not a good fit. Strong relationships between freelancers and clients are built upon open conversation and honesty so don’t be afraid to ask a few questions, and don’t be afraid to say no.