7/24/2017

10 Client Boundaries To Have In Place As A Freelancer


In the corporate world, boundaries are set for us. Work hours, paydays, emails, availability. It’s all there. Yes, you may often get asked to do things outside of the job description, or to stay late on a busy day. But the general guidelines are already in place when we accept to work for someone else.

When we run our own show, the boundaries are ours to set. When starting out in freelancing, it’s hard not to fall in the trap of wanting to do everything a client asks, in fear of losing the client, not getting a great testimonial, or worst case scenario- the client telling everyone they know publicly that you were a horror to work with. (It’s all in your head, folks!)

Yes, we are working for our clients, but it’s our business- they are not our boss. It’s our responsibility to set the boundaries and work with people who respect them.

So here are a few ideas of areas you can (and probably should) set boundaries:

1. SET WORK HOURS AND DON’T RESPOND TO EMAILS OUT OF THOSE HOURS

Even if you work outside those hours (I know I do), don’t let your client get accustomed to hearing from you during those hours. Put these hours on your site, in your welcome package, and even in your email signature if you want.

2. SET DEADLINES AND BILL BY THOSE DEADLINES REGARDLESS IF WORK IS COMPLETE ON THEIR SIDE

We all experience projects that go on waaay too long. Whether you use project management software to make it easy, or not, set deadlines and make them part of your payment schedule if you can. If you’ve done the work on your side, you should be paid for it, regardless of whether the client has done the work on their side or not.

3. REQUIRE THAT ALL DISCUSSIONS HAPPEN IN YOUR PROJECT MANAGEMENT, NOT EMAIL

After several months now using project management software, I will certainly never go back to the old school way of using only email. If you only use email, read this post where I can maybe convince you otherwise. But in order for project management software to be really productive and serve it’s purpose, everything has to happen inside. Make it clear when you start the project that all correspondence happens in project management, not by email. And if ever the client slips up (and sends you an email instead), transfer the email into your pms and respond to it there, with a polite reminder of why you do so....more