Too often we share horror stories of freelancing. You can’t scroll your fav social media feed without hearing about a rogue editor, unpaid invoice or ghosting contact.
Being in business comes with challenges – and red flag moments!
Thankfully, there are an equal number of green flags out there to also expect, seek and celebrate. As you navigate the world of working on contract, remember there are amazing partnership possibilities and the following list of green flags aren’t a dream. They’re real. Don’t settle for less.
Green Flag #1: Organized freelance partnerships have processes in place.
The best freelance partnerships have structure from the very first moment. This includes an onboarding process to set up the relationship, introduce the project and establish all parameters of what’s expected from both parties. It truly sets the foundation of the collaboration.
Additional processes that are outlined in a freelance partnership include the workflow, payment cycles, and if you’re a writer, the creation, editing and publishing process.
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Green Flag #2: Amazing clients share detailed assignment summaries.
Writer friends, the best green flag clients won’t leave you guessing when it comes to creating content. They will clearly explain what they expect from you in an assignment summary or brief. This document may be a few paragraphs, or pages, depending on the type of project you’re doing.
Sometimes this includes an outline, keywords, notes from meetings, information from research, sources for you to consider, links to videos to watch or any other pertinent information that will help you complete the project. Your client should want you to have all the tools possible to do the best work you can, and all of that should be present at the onset of the project.
Green Flag #3: The best partners talk openly about budgets, fees and payment processes.
For whatever reason, money is usually a tough topic for most people to initiate. However, the best clients will make it part of the conversation, and not awkward. I like when they openly share their budget at the start of the conversation so as a freelancer I immediately know if the partnership is viable. Why? If they are way below my usual rate range, I’m not going to waste my time talking about the details of the project. Never wait until the end of the conversation to talk about your fees and their budget.
Green Flag #4: Successful partnerships have open, often communication.
Your freelance contact should be available. When you first set up the partnership, establish the best ways to communicate that work for both of you. This might be via email, texting, a platform, a messaging app or phone calls.
And, maybe you schedule a weekly standing meeting to simply check in to answer any questions and go over the current work that you’ve submitted. Figure out what works for both of you, and stick to it.
Green Flag #5: The best collaborations won’t leave you confused.
You should feel like an equal in your partnership, and not be left in the dark about what you’re working on, how they want the work done, when you’ll be paid or how the money will arrive. All of those things should have been clearly communicated at the start of your partnership.
It is possible to have freelance partnerships that feel secure, nurturing and professional. Often, this means speaking up and asking clarifying questions, advocating for your needs and being an active member of a team – even if you are working from home and never meet the others in person.
Green Flag #6: A great freelance partnership makes you feel appreciated.
The best collaborations simply click. You should feel like a valued member of the team, receive constructive feedback, be looped in on what’s happening throughout the project and feel moments of appreciation.
Remember, choosing to take on a project is a two-way connection. Although you may have felt joy when they accepted your project proposal or selected your application, you should also feel like they are the client you want to spend your time and energy sharing your talents with each day. You are choosing your clients as much as they are selecting you for their projects!
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