The lonely freelancer may even be in danger of losing his or her social skills. At least, that’s the popular perception.
Freelancing and being isolated just seem to go together. Some people are even attracted to freelancing specifically because they think they won’t ever have to work with people.
Too bad this popular perception of freelancers is mostly wrong.
While many freelancers do work from a home office, most of them rely on others to get the job done.
Take a look at the individuals listed in this post and see whether you agree with me that most freelancers aren’t really alone.
First and foremost, freelancers must work with clients. A freelancer without any clients will soon go out of business. In fact, most freelancers juggle multiple projects at the same time. This means that they are working with more than one client at any given time.
In case you’re new to freelancing, in some ways having a client is like having a boss. Of course, the client probably won’t tell you when to come in to work and they won’t be looking over your shoulder to make sure that you are getting the job done. But you do need to figure out what they want you to do and how to do it. If you have more than one client at a time, this can seem like having more than one boss.
To keep your clients happy, you will probably have to stay in touch–either through email or by phone. You will also need to communicate with your clients to ask questions, turn in your deliverables, and submit your invoices.
Not only must a freelancer worry about getting along with their current clients, they need to worry about getting along with future clients as well. Future clients are also known as prospects.
Prospects are another type of person that a freelancer needs to deal with on a regular basis. Your prospects include anyone who fits the profile of your ideal client.
If someone fits the profile for your ideal client and you have connected at some level, it’s worth building that relationship on the chance that it may one day evolve into a freelancer/client relationship. Remember, trust is an important port of any relationship, and that’s especially true for a freelancer/client relationship.
You have no way of knowing which of your prospects will actually become a client. It’s not unusual for a freelancer to remain in contact with a prospect for months, or even years, before they are hired. Still, it’s a good idea to keep in touch with a long list of potential clients.
Of course, clients and prospects are not the only people that freelancers need to stay in touch with.
Freelancers need to stay in touch with other freelancers too. Some freelancers don’t see the need for this, but I’ve found it helpful to maintain healthy relationships with other freelance writers.
For one thing, you never know when someone’s circumstances are going to change. Another freelancer may grow their business to the point where they will one day need to hire you. And don’t forget, freelancers sometimes bring other freelancers in to help them on a project when they are overloaded.
At the very least, a good relationship with another freelancer can be encouraging. Because they are freelancing themselves, they likely really understand what you are going through (which is often not the case for a freelancer’s family and friends).
In addition to building a relationship with other freelancers, it’s important to build and maintain relationships with those you’ve worked with in the past.
Past Employers and Colleagues
Your relationships with past employers, clients, and colleagues are important. Whenever possible, try to stay on good terms with those you’ve worked with in the past.
One reason to cultivate good relationships with those you’ve worked with in the past is that they can be a good source of testimonials and references. They are familiar with your work firsthand, so their testimonials are the most meaningful to prospects.
Also, don’t forget that circumstances change. A company where you once worked as an employee might one day need a freelancer. A former colleague may open his or her business. If you stay in touch, you will learn of these new opportunities as they arise.
I’ve shown in this post that freelancers really can’t afford to be isolated from others. In fact, maintaining relationships is probably more important for a freelancer than it is for a traditional employee. The perception of the freelancer who is all alone and rarely makes contact is mostly a myth.
What do you think about freelancers and being isolated? Have I missed any relationships that a freelancer needs to cultivate?
Image by miss vichan