For startup owners, few things are more fulfilling than signing their first client and being able to do the things they love under their own business structure and brand. In today’s market, freelancing is big business. A study from 2016 revealed that America is home to 55 million freelancers, which make up 35% of the US workforce.
If you are planning to join the consulting club, then congratulations for the decision. You are in for a rewarding professional life experience, but only when you do the things to make sure to protect yourself. If you disregard this, you will likely experience undue stress and even burnout. Here are some mistakes to avoid when consulting.
Setting the Wrong Tone
Most freelancers are excited about having their first few clients, so they often make the bad decision of doing a bit more work in different places. They eagerly respond to emails and messages instantly and attend calls when these should ideally have been scheduled. Freelancers think they are accommodating and being generous, but clients see such behavior as establishing a mood for the remaining part of the deal. This often backfires, as clients get used to having real-time responses always. Before they even know it, what follows is confusion. The professional is overwhelmed, and alongside them, the client is frustrated.
Being Afraid To Establish a Contract
Consultants are concerned about offering a formal agreement for fear of losing their job. Understanding that excellent deals are established to protect you and the client is the best way to overcome this concern. Do not go in thinking that these are put into place for you to strong-arm your client, or vice versa. This is performed by clarifying roles and timelines, securing fees and payments, and establishing a contract in case the relationship fails to work out.
Not Holding Clients Responsible
Many freelances do not create a figurative boundary and suggest that crossing that line will lead to trouble. This happens with regards to letting clients give deliverables late, working with an unsettled invoice, or going through an elaborate procedure to finish tasks before unreasonable deadlines.
Letting Clients Treat Consultants like their Own Workers
Freelancer consultants tend to forget the fact that their partnership with clients is professional. As a freelancer, you work for clients, but you are not working for them. Freelancers, especially younger, more inexperienced ones, often face this struggle.