During my first year of freelancing, I was so eager to get work from clients that I didn’t pay attention to little details. I mean who cares about being paid on time when you are so eager to get out into the world and do a little design work, right?
Wrong! You’ll always continue to learn and grow as an entrepreneur. One of the more important things I did was grow a business back bone. If you don’t value your worth or your time, you can’t expect other people to do so.
Here are 6 lessons I’ve learned:
1. I grew a back bone when it comes to money. I had some people who didn’t pay me until months after the fact – or at all. Not anymore. I now require a 50% down payment before work will commence.
2. I only work with people who come to me for help. When a client decides that they want to work with me or need my services – the quality of the relationship is better. Quality over quantity.
3. There has to be mutual respect between a free agent and a client. I worked in the trash industry for 10 years, so you’re not going to get bad service from me. Period. The thing some clients don’t understand – is that there are expectations that need to be met on both parties. Don’t cancel meetings at the last minute. Come ready to learn something or make progress on our project.
4. I never shove my business card in people’s face. If a prospect acts semi-interested in my services – I send a follow up email saying it was nice to meet them and asking to connect on LinkedIn and Twitter. If they want to work with me, they’ll ask when they are ready to work on the project and have a budget for it.
5. I choose volunteer activities where my talents can be used. If someone approaches me about a community project, I don’t just jump on the gun. I give it consideration and accept or decline based on my instinct and current commitments.
6. I surround myself with people who want others to succeed. When you get over the ‘newlywed’ phase of being a business owner, you can really soak in who’s in it for only themselves.
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